Center to expand service offerings with a new office in Indianola, Miss.

July 18, 2011

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded the Mississippi Center for Justice a two-year, $2 million grant that will enable the Center to expand its access to education and healthcare programs to the Mississippi Delta with the support of an office in the region. The Mississippi Center for Justice’s mission to advance racial and economic justice statewide will be significantly enhanced by having a sustained presence in the Mississippi Delta.

“We have been working for the past several years to serve the needs of residents in the Mississippi Delta through our access to justice programs,” said Martha Bergmark, Mississippi Center for Justice founding president and CEO. “We’ve used this time to learn more about the needs in the area and to respond with legal and policy advocacy where appropriate, but we wanted to commit to having an office there only when we knew we could financially sustain it. Generous funding from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation makes this vision a reality.”

The office is slated to open by the end of 2011, and will be located in Indianola. The plan includes initial staffing of four people, including a managing attorney and two support personnel, as well as a Skadden legal fellow. The Center will provide a legal capacity to address the needs of special education students and school discipline policy, as well as access to healthcare with a particular focus on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and discrimination incurred by the HIV/Aids population.

“We believe this new office will enhance and support the work of the numerous community partners with whom we already collaborate,” Bergmark added. “We will continue to work statewide, including in the Mississippi Delta, on issues such as fair lending, access to affordable housing, and giving private attorneys opportunities to offer their services on a volunteer basis.”

Mississippi Center for Justice is a nonprofit, public interest law firm committed to advancing racial and economic justice. Supported and staffed by attorneys, community leaders and volunteers, the Center develops and pursues strategies to combat discrimination and poverty statewide. More information about the Center’s campaigns to advance racial and economic justice is available online at www.mscenterforjustice.org.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, established in 1930, supports children, families and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and southern Africa.