CZI commits $7 million for racial equity, youth well-being

CZI commits $7 million for racial equity, youth well-being

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has announced a $7 million commitment in support of efforts to advance racial equity, strengthen tribal identity, and improve mental wellness for youth in marginalized communities impacted by COVID-19.

Five community organizations were awarded grants as part of CZI's commitment to  advance principles outlined in guidance developed earlier this year by WestEd and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The grantees include the First Nations Development Institute, which was awarded $1.6 million to advance Native-led, community-driven programs designed to share and preserve Native language, tribal identity, and community practices in remote environments, and Forward Promise, a program incubated by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that will receive $1.3 million to expand a cohort of partners providing safe spaces where young men of color can heal from racial trauma. 

In addition, the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at the University of Texas at Austin was awarded $1.1 million to expand partnerships with pre-K-12 schools and community organizations in Texas focused on improving academic achievement, neighborhood conditions, and mental health and well-being for youth of color and their families; the Center at Sierra Health Foundation will receive $1.5 million to increase social-emotional and wraparound supports in schools in California's Central Valley and shift public support for and resources from punitive disciplinary measures to counseling and mental health and identity-affirming services; and the Skillman Foundation will receive $1.5 million to invest in Detroit organizations working to holistically support young people and educators, including strengthening connections and building resilience among students, families, and educators.

"We are proud to support these organizations and their work with local communities to protect youth well-being through programs that advance racial equity and strengthen tribal identity," said CZI head of education Sandra Liu Huang. "These communities have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and long-standing inequities. And as they rebuild, it is especially critical that communities continue to prioritize mental wellness for students to ensure they reach their full potential."

(Photo credit: Sierra Health Foundation)