The W.K. Kellogg Foundation plans to help families in Michigan and three other states, while also connecting established and emerging community leaders.
The Program Officer for the Foundation's Community Leadership Network, Esther Nieves, says the foundation has a strong history of leadership development. She says those leaders have worked to help families in areas such as health, education and financial security
The inaugural class of that network includes 120 people overall. Nieves says they will focus on vulnerable children in Michigan, New Mexico, Mississippi and New Orleans. She says the areas have been picked because of socio-economic indicators.
Nieves says the class of fellows includes people from different backgrounds and professions. She says part of the goal is to create connections between people who may work in similar fields. Nieves says the foundation hopes that those leaders stay connected after their involvement in the program.
The program is focusing on family well-being. Nieves says many of the fellows are engaged in the issue of food disparity, and access to good food. Neives says that has been a long-term interest of the Kellogg Foundation. She says some other factors, such as First Lady Michelle Obama's efforts to promote healthy food, have made the public more aware of the issue.
The foundation approved a six year pilot. Nieves says that will means three classes and 360 individuals will go through the program. But she hopes that the trustees will continue the program if it shows good results.