PKG Social Impact Internships: Andrea Moncada (’23)
Hi, my name is Andrea Moncada, and this Spring semester I am interning for the Kresge Foundation Health Team. The Kresge Foundation is a private philanthropic group that awards grants to non-profit organizations devoted to the betterment of society.
Kresge’s current initiative is supporting organizations working to combat climate change and racial inequity. Although at a moment’s glance one may not see the direct connection between these two topics, when one starts to think of the implications of the former towards the latter it starts to make more sense. Although climate change is a growing issue for the human race as a whole, in the United States, minorities are impacted the most. A large portion of people who live in areas of industry, where there is more air pollution, fall into the demographic of a racial minority. Then what usually comes with this problem is the added hurt of water pollution. However, even though these problems are recognized, not enough action is taken by political authorities alone to prevent the pollution and improve the circumstances.
The Kresge Foundation’s role in all of this is to provide resources to organizations so that they can take action and raise awareness to both make a difference themselves as well as push for governmental policies to reach those that the organization can not reach. The way they incorporate the push for racial equity is that they are trying to help in specifically supporting organizations led by people of color (POC), and this started out by focusing on community based organizations. The importance of POC led organizations is that they relate with their community, know how to communicate with them, and have a better idea of what kind of aid would suit their community best instead of an outsider or non-POC speaking on their behalf, with possibly only textbook knowledge of them. By supporting the POC-led organizations, Kresge is empowering these communities, both on the climate change matter, as well as in general through their ability to promote change.
My specific contribution with Kresge is to help form connections between the different organizations that Kresge supports, specifically the community based ones. I reach out to organizations, and after reading their grant proposals to understand their project scope, have a conversation about possible partnerships with other similar organizations they may be interested in. By forming connections between organizations with similar ideas, both parties can learn from each other and gain more momentum after one another. This is especially true when one organization may be composed of health practitioners, and another be more of a hospital network. People and institutions in health care are well respected in society, so their judgements and opinions tend to carry a lot of weight for the public as well as with government officials. If they can/want to band together, they could be able to put up a stronger front to promote changes in the community they are located in.
Partnerships can also be extremely beneficial for more community based organizations. These organizations are typically smaller than national organizations, and they do not always have the same amount of experience. By forming connections with one another or with national groups, they can grow stronger as a group as well as learn how different groups go about their objectives. They can get an understanding of what kinds of methods have and have not worked for other groups, and see what they might want to adopt for themselves. By partnering with a national organization, the latter can help empower POC, by amplifying their voices to other sectors outside of the audience they have been able to reach. However, the benefit does not only work in one direction. There are larger organizations that Kresge supports that are well experienced, but maybe do not have a strong POC perspective in their leadership. Through a partnership with a community based organization, they can learn from them from a more cultural standpoint to better incorporate social equity in their projects and expand their reach more effectively.
This internship is more and more teaching me about the importance of amplifying people’s voices as a form of support. Racial equity is a battle for every type of person to help fight for, but not everyone has the same role in it. Although it is sometimes one’s turn to be a main participant and voice for the cause, there are also other times to recognize that the best action to take is supporting those who may be able to take a greater effect.
Interested in a Social Impact Internship? Learn more about how to apply by clicking here!
Tags: Anti-Racism, Climate, Climate Change, Racial Justice, Social Impact Internships, Social Impact Internships Spring 2021