MMEP Awarded Education Ecosystem Grant by the Bush Foundation!
Minnesota Minority Education Partnership, Inc. has been awarded a $200,000 Education Ecosystem grant by the Bush Foundation! The Foundation made $200,000 grants to 11 other organizations as part of this new program.
“MMEP is honored to have been selected by the Bush Foundation to receive a grant for impacting the education ecosystem of Minnesota. Developing research and networks of communities with students, families, educators, and system leaders requires key resources – financial and with the recognition of foundations. With this grant, the Bush Foundation is making an important investment in MMEP so we can accelerate our efforts to impact the education ecosystem to reach greater equitable and excellent outcomes for all students,” comments Carlos Mariani, Executive Director on Sabbatical, on Behalf of MMEP Board and Staff.
“This grant allows MMEP to amplify our work in action research, network development, and campaign development aimed at addressing race equity and excellence in education. MMEP will also be developing more emerging talent to assist with education equity research and solution-vetting in communities through our Race Equity Policy Fellowship program at MMEP,” says Jennifer Godinez, Acting Executive Director, on Behalf of MMEP Board and Staff.
Education Ecosystem Grants support organizations that help create the environment for the education initiatives of others to succeed. Their efforts contribute to the favorable conditions needed for others to work to reduce educational disparities and improve outcomes for all students. They assist by creating access to critical data, advancing a favorable policy environment and/or shaping and sharing best practices.
“Efforts toward change in education happen within an interrelated organizational ecosystem,” said Kayla Yang-Best, the Bush Foundation’s education director. “Through this program, we want to create the most favorable environment possible for education initiatives—including those of the Bush Foundation—to succeed in improving education outcomes.”
MMEP’s Board Chair, Keith Lester, commented – “The Board is very proud of all the staff and entire MMEP community for receiving this grant. MMEP is a unique organization tackling race equity in education – as a collaborative of schools, communities, and education leaders. Additionally, this grant comes during our strategic planning process– the organization will unveil strategic priorities for the next 3-5 years in the coming months!”
About MMEP: Minnesota Minority Education Partnership was founded in 1987 to propose policy and practice solutions aimed at improving race equity and excellence in education in Minnesota. For over 25 years, MMEP has led the way in identifying racially-defined inequities in educational outcomes for students of color and American Indian students in Minnesota. The organization differs from any other education nonprofit as it promotes large scale-success for students of color through multi-sector efforts to transform the state’s educational systems. In 2001, MMEP convened the state’s first multi-racial, multi-sector research team and produced the pivotal State of Students of Color and American Indian Students (SOSOC) report, which brought to light the uncomfortable truth hidden in Minnesota’s otherwise impressive academic performance data: while state systems serve white students well, those same systems leave young people of color behind at every point along the educational continuum. Earlier on, MMEP innovated several new ways to advance racial equity in education including: piloting empowerment trainings for parents of color, connecting socially -isolated students of color to enrichment programs, and creating networks that include members of communities of color as true partners at the table with leaders and policy-makers.
Today, MMEP issues the SOSOC on a biannual basis and gathers educators and other stakeholders in major conferences to agree on action steps; develops key networks to engage multiple stakeholders in cradle to career initiatives; produces the Academic Enrichment Guide connecting youth to summer opportunities; produces social action policy briefs used to address opportunity gaps in education; and works to intensify and deepen the broader community’s understanding of racial inequities in education.
One of the latest networks and campaigns MMEP has led successfully is the “Solutions Not Suspensions” campaign to address disproportionate rates of discipline and accelerate African American young men academic achievement. The recent Minneapolis Public School’s Superintendent’s decision to implement a moratorium on suspensions for young learners is credited as being shaped by MMEP’s campaign and advisory expertise. MMEP’s other impactful Networks and education equity campaigns include: Minnesota College Access Network (MCAN) aimed to increase the success of more youth of color and low-income youth in college, African American Males in Education Advisory (AAMEA/Solutions Not Suspensions campaign), Race Equity and Excellence in Education Network (REEEN) aimed at producing more culturally responsive school board leaders and school leaders statewide. The organization is also training the “next generation” of research and policy analysts through the Race Equity Policy Fellowship. See more information at www.mmep.org/fellows/
MMEP Board and Staff: The Board of Directors of MMEP includes several representatives of K-12 educational institutions, college representatives, university representatives, community leaders, business leaders, and students. MMEP is led by two recognized thought leaders in education policy and programming–Executive Director on Sabbatical, Carlos Mariani and Acting Executive Director, Jennifer Godinez. Mr. Mariani is a part-time legislator who has advanced significant education public policies that impact youth of color and low-income youth statewide. He has been honored for his leadership in state government and also for his leadership in the nonprofit sector with MMEP and for developing the first “State of Students of Color and American Indians” statewide research report in MN. Ms. Godinez works with community leaders and educators to develop innovative networks around race equity initiatives statewide and has published writings used to train educators nationwide. Ms. Godinez has been recently honored as a Facing Race honorable mention nominee by the Minnesota Philanthropy Partners for her efforts on race equity in education. MMEP is made up of a diverse staff team with deep expertise in education equity, network development, social action research, and communities of color and American Indian communities.
For more information about MMEP Please follow us! Twitter at @MMEPRaceEquity
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