Wisconsinites have much to be proud of except for the state’s racial disparities. It is the No. 1 worst state when it comes to Black infant mortality rates.
Alia Stevenson of the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness spoke (FFBWW) to the Waunakee Rotary Club about her organization and the work she is doing to improve Black women’s wellness, work Dane County Rotary Clubs could soon be sharing.
Kathleen Roberg with the Madison West Towne-Middleton Rotary Club would like to pursue a Rotary Foundation global grant with participation from all of the county’s Rotary.
Alia said FFBWW became a 501-C3 nonprofit in 2012, and before then, was completely volunteer. The organization has several health care partners, but when Kathleen approached her about partnering on the work, that opened the doors to working with area businesses.
FFBWW’s core mission is to eliminate health disparities. Alia said Black women in Wisconsin are still in crisis, as the state is No. 1 in birth, health and wealth disparities. A widening life-expectancy gap also exists for Black women, as the average of death for this demographic in the state is age 60.
Exacerbating the crisis now is COVID-19, as many Black women have been laid off.
Added to the stress is the number of Black people killed, Alia said.
“We must address societal inequalities,” Alia said, adding there is a direct link between health and wealth.
FFBWW has published a Saving Babies report with the Dane County Health Council. Several themes or causes are included in the report to explain the health disparities. They include racism and discrimination, bias or a cultural disconnect, economic insecurity, housing insecurity and more.
The solutions include empowering Black women, making policy changing and creating powerful partnerships.
Kathleen Roberg said has when her Rotary Club began thinking of applying for a global grant, they looked at this issue in Dane County. She said while the healthcare system is working on these issues, health care providers put a Band Aid on the problems – they don’t prevent them. The goal with a global grant is to “truly get boots on the ground” with every single Rotary helping on things like insurance, business, real estate, entrepreneurism and management training.
All the Dane County Clubs will have to work on the grant together.
Their work can be a blueprint for advocacy, Kathleen said.
The global grant funding starts in July, and Kathleen said the grant application will likely be submitted for that cycle in 2021.
The Waunakee club’s board of directors will likely take this up at their meetings.
Other News:
-Rotarians have begin the Rotary Lights display at Village Park, but Saturday, Oct. 17,  is the big day, when all Rotarians will be asked to help out. Meet at Village Park at 9 a.m. if you can.
-Travis Heiser is heading up the Rotary’s participation in the Sesquicentennial committee. Let him know if you’d like to help out as the village celebrates 150 years.
Birthdays: None.
Anniversaries: None.