KCC Center for Diversity and Innovation expands thanks to $800,000 W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant extension

A view of the reflecting pools area in front of the North Avenue campus on a sunny summer day.

The Center for Diversity and Innovation at Kellogg Community College is pleased to announce it has received an $800,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to continue its work promoting racial equity and institutional capacity building in Battle Creek.

The CDI, which is based on KCC’s North Avenue campus in Battle Creek, formally launched in the spring of 2014, funded by a three-year, $2.1 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The additional funding, effective March 2017 through May 2018, is an extension of the original grant and this year enabled the CDI to more than double its staff from three to seven employees.

The CDI has also received support this spring and summer for its community programming and youth initiative through $22,000 worth of grants from the Battle Creek Community Foundation and a $7,000 grant from the Feldpausch Foundation.

Jorge Zeballos, executive director of the CDI, said the staff expansion will enable the CDI to meet the capacity building demands of the many local organizations that utilize its services, including local police and fire departments, school districts and other organizations.

“This additional funding demonstrates the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s firm commitment to racial equity work and their understanding of the importance of supporting this work over the long haul,” Zeballos said. “It also indicates that the Foundation believes in the work of our organization and the impact we have had in the community.”

The staff expansion will also allow the CDI to create a year-round youth equity initiative and to expand support for coaches and alumni of the White Men and Allies lab that has become one of the CDI’s flagship programs.

As the CDI’s new team and initiatives are established, Zeballos said they’ll also develop a fund development strategy to provide greater financial stability for the organization, and work to create partnerships in sectors the CDI hasn’t had capacity to engage in yet, including the business, faith, health care and other sectors.

New CDI employees hired this summer through grant funding include:

  • Cherise Buchanan, program manager. Buchanan joined the KCC family in June. A Battle Creek native who attended Battle Creek Public Schools, Buchanan earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Michigan State University in 2006 and earned a Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration in Nonprofit Leadership in 2013 from Western Michigan University. Buchanan comes to KCC with 12 years of experience working in a variety of areas in the nonprofit sector. She also works in ministry, was a dance instructor for 11 years and is host of the Rise Radio Broadcast. Buchanan believes that while you may not be able to change the whole world, you can impact one life at a time.
  • Sara Johnson, program manager. Johnson brings a background in secondary education and a passion for social justice to her work at the CDI, where she manages the Learning for Inclusive Transformation (LIT) youth program and the White Men and Allies Learning Lab. She volunteered and worked part time for the CDI before joining the staff on a full-time basis in June. In her free time, Johnson enjoys time with her family, hiking and reading.
  • Emily Joye McGaughy, trainer. McGaughy is a full-time trainer at the CDI and a facilitator for Allies for Change and White Men as Full Diversity Partners. She is also an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. McGaughy earned a Master of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, in 2008, and a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Philosophy from Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina, in 2005. She also has extensive training in pastoral care and trauma. McGaughy is the daughter of Martha Tamburrano, the wife of Kate Staib and the mother of Maddie, Aurora and Isaiah. She loves to write, collage, paint, hike and resist fascism in her spare time.
  • Meredith Stravers, director. Stravers comes to the CDI after 16 years of working in various roles in the Student Services Department at KCC. Stravers holds a Bachelor of Arts in Family Life Education and a Master of Arts in Family Studies, both from Spring Arbor University. Stravers is a member of the Human Relations Board for the City of Battle Creek and is a member of the African-American Collaborative facilitated by L.E. Johnson.

The above employees join previous CDI staff including:

  • Tha T. Par, trainer. Par’s roles and responsibilities at the CDI include co-developing training curriculum and co-facilitating trainings. Par has a background in community organization and youth development work and currently serves on the board of the Chin Youth Organization of North America. Par holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Michigan and completed her Master of Social Work at the U of M School of Social Work studying Policy and Evaluation. Par previously served as a program assistant at the CDI.
  • Timeaka Reese, executive assistant. A founding member of the CDI, Reese is responsible for all administrative support for the organization. Reese earned a Bachelor of Arts from Eastern Michigan University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. A Certified Professional Coach through Leadership that Works, Reese serves as a board member for the Woman’s Co-Op and Food Bank of South Central Michigan and sits on the advisory board of Sexual Assault Services at Bronson Battle Creek. In her free time, Reese enjoys spending time with family and friends, self-care and traveling.
  • Jorge Zeballos, executive director. Zeballos was born in Washington, D.C., but grew up in Lima, Peru. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Rutgers University and a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Management and Development from Fielding Graduate University. For more than 20 years, Zeballos has established himself as an equity professional, nationally and internationally. He has facilitated workshops on equity and has been a keynote speaker at various national and international diversity conferences, including the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity; the White Privilege Conference; the International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations; and the National Association of Multicultural Educators.

For more information about the Center for Diversity and Innovation at KCC, visit www.kellogg.edu/kcccdi.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

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