The John Rex Endowment is pleased to announce grant awards totaling more than $1.75 million to five organizations to improve the environment in which Wake County children and their families are born, live, learn, work, play, worship and age.
Sabrina Slade, Social Innovation Director with the Endowment, says, “We know circumstances including safe and affordable housing, education, employment, access to food, safety and minimization of stress each impact quality of life. These factors are interrelated and have a strong influence on someone’s health and well-being for their entire life.”
The five grant recipients are: EVOLVE Mentoring: $480,260; Families Together: $600,000; Haven House Services: $97,172; Methodist Home for Children: $119,915; and Southeast Raleigh Promise: $453,490.
- EVOLVE Mentoring works with youth, young adults and parents with low-income to engage them in education and outreach to develop skills necessary to be successful as independent adults. The grant supports the development of a plan to rollout the My Brother’s Keeper initiative in Wake County focusing on closing the achievement gap for boys and young men of color.
- Families Together strives to provide families access to safe, dignified, affordable housing. The grant is to launch a new initiative to increase the pool of housing (through a variety of ways such as acquisition, master leasing, intensive financial counseling, and bridge housing) to position Wake County families for long-term success.
- Haven House Services believes all youth should reach their full potential. The project supports the development of a plan to be able to respond and help youth, families, and community partners navigate two major changes that will impact vulnerable, high-risk young people in Wake County. (1) Implementation of Raise the Age means that 16 and 17-year-old individuals who commit crimes in North Carolina will no longer automatically be charged in the adult criminal justice system. The implementation will bring an annual 57% increase in the number of youth entering the juvenile justice system in Wake County. (2) North Carolina is in the process of transitioning to Medicaid managed care. The impact is unknown on how youth who are involved with juvenile justice will be served in the newly designed system.
- Methodist Home for Children’s Early Childhood Services and DHIC (supporting families by providing homes and opportunities that promote their financial, physical, and mental well-being) will strengthen their partnership to serve the residents of the Washington Terrace community. Through the project, the partners will engage with residents to identify needs and strategies that promote health and wellness, education, community engagement, and employment.
- Southeast Raleigh Promise focuses on breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty through building and strengthening partnerships with service-providing organizations. Focusing on children attending the Southeast Raleigh Elementary School and their families, the project will apply the CDC's Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model (WSCC) framework to ensure that children in the neighborhood are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. The model is student-centered and emphasizes the role of the community in supporting the school, the connections between health and academic achievement.
"These five grants focus on improving community and system level factors affecting the health and wellbeing of children in areas of our county where there is the highest opportunity for positive change,” said Deborah Nelson, chair of the Endowment’s committee responsible for assessing grant proposals. “It’s challenging work, but our children deserve our commitment and our best efforts. We are hopeful that together we'll make progress on a range of complex issues.“