Racial equity and the need for systems transformation
Cathann Kress – Board Chair
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Cathann Kress – Board Chair
From left to right: Khan Nedd, Grand Rapids, MI; Ramón Murguía, Kansas City, KS; Celeste A. Clark, Battle Creek, MI; La June Montgomery Tabron, Battle Creek, MI; Cathann Kress, Columbus, OH; Christina K. Hanger, Plano, TX; Richard M. Tsoumas, Battle Creek, MI; and Rod Gillum, Detroit, MI. Not pictured: Milton Chen, San Francisco, CA.
As an important and strategic focus for our grantmaking, explore how WKKF trustees explain systems change.
“Systems of inequity rely on perpetuating power and privilege. Systems change relies on movements bringing public pressure to bear on inequitable systems. And on extraordinary leaders willing to devote their lives to dismantling such systems, often at great personal sacrifice.”
“Systems change does not happen—it is caused—through persistent hard work, girded by hope and optimism!”
"Systems change grapples with the underlying causes of an undesirable condition, and not just the effects. Some guidance can be found through the lens of a gardener who is confronted with a dying plant. Does he water the brown leaves, or should his attention be on the roots—are they irrigated, provided the appropriate nutrients, and room to grow?”
"Systems change is complex, challenging work. At WKKF, we are addressing the root causes of social problems, like inequity and poverty, to create long lasting, sustainable solutions. To do this work, we make long-term commitment, working with local leaders to shape policy, and building capacity of communities to effect change. Just like when you throw a pebble in a pond, systems change ripples outward with far reaching and transformative impacts."
“Systems Change means our efforts to address the root causes of persistent poverty and discrimination to improve outcomes for vulnerable children. To me this means we must work across sectors (government, institutions, communities) to disrupt the status quo and push for transformative ways of addressing requisites of our most vulnerable and marginalized children. Unlike others in philanthropy, at WKKF we endeavor to include the voices of the families and communities thar are affected by the systems we seek to change.”
"System change: Balancing the natural energy of change with the deliberate interference of system evolution, guided by the principle building more equitable communities. Looking back forward!”
"To me, Systems Change means great opportunity and leverage. When we can change systems that impact many, rather than a few with an individual grant, or a small group through a program, we create great leverage and scalable change. It is compound growth for social good!”