In 2007, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation identified Mississippi as a key state where the Foundation would concentrate its grantmaking efforts; it has committed to supporting local communities for at least a generation. The Foundation works with grantee partners that are implementing programs and initiatives designed to improve the lives of children and families throughout the state, with grants concentrated in the geographic areas of Biloxi; Sunflower County; and the state capitol, Jackson.
The Foundation has expressed a particular concern with inequitable outcomes for young children and for boys and young men of color. These concerns led to the creation of a Young Males of Color grantee cohort in 2013—a group of organizations working throughout the state to create a system of support for boys and young men of color from birth to adulthood. The Foundation is also working with grantee partners to create an environment that supports racial equity and racial healing in Mississippi.
The Kellogg Foundation selected Community Science as the statewide evaluator for its efforts in Mississippi. In this role, Community Science has worked with the Foundation to design and implement an evaluation of the Foundation’s grantmaking in the state. Community Science is analyzing the Foundation’s grantmaking activities and other supports to ensure that they align with the Foundation’s strategies and desired outcomes. The Evaluation Team has worked with Young Males of Color grantees to build grantee evaluation capacity through tailored technical assistance and coaching to enhance their ability to monitor the progress of their work for their own purposes as well as to meet the Foundation’s requirements. This work has required Community Science to pay close attention to the social, political, and historical context of the state—especially race relations and racial inequities—in interactions with grantees and other stakeholders, data collection and analysis, technical assistance, and the use and interpretation of data and evaluation findings.