The Barbara Jordan – Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University (TSU) was recently awarded a $3.3 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The grant will expand The HBCU Gulf Coast Equity Consortium, a collaborative project involving Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) formed to address health equity, social inequality and the vulnerability of children and families in the Gulf Coast.
Texas Southern University President Dr. Austin A. Lane said, “We are elated that the Kellogg Foundation has recognized the necessity of this critical research cooperative to improve the lives of people living in the region. It is in line with TSU’s mission as a special-purpose institution dedicated to urban programming, and highlights the academic depth and strength of our talented faculty member and researcher Dr. Robert Bullard and the entire HBCU consortium team.”
Dr. Robert Bullard, a distinguished professor in TSU’s School of Public Affairs, and Dr. Beverly Wright of the Dillard University Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, served as the grant’s co-principal investigators.
“We are excited that the Kellogg Foundation grant allows us to expand our HBCU community-university equity network to address health and environmental issues in the Gulf Coast region using an equity and racial justice lens,” Dr. Bullard said. “Collectively, our HBCUs are in a unique position to build partnerships and implement a ‘southern initiative’ to address equity challenges that are unique to the South given our region’s history and legacy.”
“It is our goal to improve the quality of life for families and children in environmental justice communities through research, data collection, community training and advocacy,” Dr. Wright said. “This generous grant from the Kellogg Foundation gives us the opportunity to do this work.”
The project will focus on addressing social inequality, health equity and the well-being of children (prenatal to age eight) and families in five Gulf Coast states – Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida – with a special emphasis on Houston, New Orleans, Gulfport-Biloxi, Mobile, and Pensacola.
The Gulf Coast region ranked highest in poverty, food insecurity and “food deserts,” uninsured, and access to parks. The region also ranked in the bottom quartile for the state health-system performance, family and community well-being, and child well-being. Children in the region are considered at “ground zero” of multiple environmental assaults. According to the 2014 Kids Count report, the South (including Gulf Coast states) is the worst place for children and families due in part to hosting a disproportionate share of the nation’s chemical plants, refineries, seaports, and other dangerous polluting industries.
The HBCU Gulf Coast Equity Consortium, using state-of-the-art tools, community input and policy review/analysis to develop comprehensive plans and action strategies, seeks to improve the quality of life of children and families in the Gulf Coast.
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About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation –
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.
About Texas Southern University –
Texas Southern University (TSU) is a comprehensive, metropolitan institution providing academic and research programs that address critical urban issues, and prepares its increasingly diverse student population to become a force for positive change in a global society. TSU offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and concentrations – bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees – organized into 10 colleges and schools on a 150-acre campus nestled in the heart of Houston’s historic Third Ward. The University’s enrollment has a population of 8,000 undergraduate and graduate-school academic candidates. Texas Southern has been a distinguished educational pioneer since 1927, and the University has become one of the most diverse and respected institutions in Texas. TSU has positioned itself as a proactive leader in educating underserved students and many who are the first in their family to attend college. For more information, visit www.tsu.edu.