The Jackson Community Foundation, in partnership with the Henry Ford Allegiance Health’s Health Improvement Organization, is announcing a Racial Equity Grant Round.  This grant application will support systemic change in Jackson County, Michigan.  Our goal is to focus on the root causes of racism.  We seek to permanently dismantle the racist barriers that are embedded in our local policies and practices.

We know from the 2019 Jackson County Collaborative Community Assessment  and other data sources that there are disparities that negatively impact the health and overall well-being of Jackson County’s Black residents, especially those living within the City of Jackson, as compared to White residents.

  • 56% of all Black Jackson County residents live within the City of Jackson. (p.8)

  • About 64% of Black residents make less than $25,000 per year, compared to 33% of White residents. (p.8)

  • 63% of Black children in Jackson County live in poverty, compared to 23% of White children. (p.8)

  • On average, less than 3% of White residents report transportation concerns related to accessing prescriptions, dental care, and doctor’s appointments, compared to around 15% of Black residents. (p.8)

  • The three-year average of infant mortality rates from 2015-2017 was 26.5 for Black infants as compared to 5.6 for White infants. (p.25)

  • The Unemployment Rate for White people is 8% compared to 19% for Black people in Jackson County. (p.10)                                               

Using this data, several contributing factors have been identified that could be contributing to these disparities. (p.8)  These include:                   

  • Disparities in educational attainment

  • Failure to meet hierarchy of needs

  • Lack of community voice and power

  • Lack of trust and/or lack of relationships

  • Lower annual household income and poverty levels

  • Racial segregation

  • Systemic and institutional racism


Growing for over 15 years, the Jackson Collaborative Network is comprised of hundreds of Jackson County residents.  The Jackson Collaborative Network has been using the ABLe Change Framework, a systems change approach designed to help people in communities more effectively address significant social issues affecting children, youth, and families.  (See http://ablechange.msu.edu/ if you would like to learn more about the ABLe Change Framework.)   Using this framework and process, the Jackson Collaborative Network has identified 14 systemic problems leading to inequities in our community: JCN Root Cause Priorities - System Change Targets.  The Jackson Collaborative Network believes that addressing these problems would lead to a healthier, thriving, and safe community. 



In light of this data, the Jackson Community Foundation is holding a Racial Equity Grant Round focused specifically on dismantling racist barriers that are embedded in our local policies and practices.



Based on the ABLe Change Framework, we are seeking grant proposals that will help achieve this vision by:

  • Changing Mindsets – Includes attitudes, values, and beliefs that shape people’s behavior.  Local example:  Jackson County Michigan Department of Health & Human Services requiring staff to undergo implicit bias training.


  • Changing Regulations – Includes policies, laws, practices, procedures, and daily routines that guide people’s choices and behaviors.  Local example:  Jackson District Library changed its policies about not allowing youth to apply for and receive a library card without parental consent. 


  • Strengthening Connections – Includes exchanges of information and resources between people and organizations.  Local example:  Jackson County Chamber of Commerce is supporting Black/African American owned business by helping them build connections with other businesses and community members.


  • Sharing Power – Includes how decisions are made and who participates in making these decisions, whose voice matters, and the structure to support inclusion.  Local example:  LifeWays Community Mental Health and Henry Ford Allegiance Health recently introduced the Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC) Voices Campaign, which is committed to amplifying and listening to the voices of Black, Indigenous and People of Color so that these underrepresented groups get the mental health help that they need.


(The ABLe Change Framework also includes two other approaches, but they are not included in this grant round:  Strengthening Components and Enhancing Resources.  To learn more, please watch “Enhancing Community Problem Solving with Root Cause Analysis”.)


Proposals can focus on changes within a single organization or on efforts that impact a neighborhood, city ward, village, township, or the entire county.


This grant round is not focused on the symptoms that are often addressed by implementing program and information resources. This grant round is not for reactive ideas; rather, successful grantees will focus on addressing root causes and implementing systemic change intended to permanently alter the conditions that make our systems inequitable for Black residents of Jackson County.

The Jackson Community Foundation has also implemented internal changes and supported external efforts to help create inclusive policies and practices:

  • We invested $10,200 for community members to participate in Facing Race/ERACCE trainings in an effort to Change Mindsets;

  • We supported two of this year’s Southside Summer Fests that helped to Strengthen Connections between Jackson County residents;  

  • We financially collaborated with Henry Ford Allegiance Health to Enhance Resources for this racial equity grant round and together over the past two years have invested $253,134.00 in grant dollars to support systems change in our community;

  • Like we have for the past two years, we continue to Change our Regulations and Policies so that community groups without official 501(c)3 nonprofit status can apply for grants; and

  • We will Share Power with others when deciding which grant proposals received during this grant round to fund will receive funding.              

In conducting the Racial Equity Grant Round, the Jackson Community Foundation is trying to address root causes for the racial inequities that exist in our community.  We humbly ask for your grace and understanding as we do our best to dismantle racist barriers with the resources and knowledge available to us at this time.  We will continue our efforts to learn and grow as an organization so that we can best serve our community for generations to come.

Jackson Community Foundation

100 S. Jackson Street, Suite 206B

Jackson, Michigan 49201

Ph: (517) 787-1321

email: jcf@jacksoncf.org

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