The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC, provides food to more than 6 million women and young children, including nearly half of all infants born in the US.
But less than 60% of eligible individuals and less than 50% of eligible children participate in the program, which "has played an essential role in helping children grow up healthy and ensuring mothers get the support they need before, and after pregnancy," says Luis Guardia, president of the Food Research & Action Center, which has been awarded a $20 million grant from the US Department of Agriculture to help increase WIC participation.
"But for the program to truly maximize its potential, we need to get 100% of eligible individuals enrolled and actively participating," Guardia says in a press release.
To that end, the nonprofit will partner with UnidosUS, the Native American Agriculture Fund, and the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition to conduct innovative outreach strategies to increase WIC participation and retention, with a focus on underserved populations.
"Right now, more than 2.6 million WIC participants are Latino women and children," says a UnidosUS VP.
"These grants will advance our learnings in reaching eligible low-income Latinos and other underserved families through a cultural and human-centered lens who are in most need of these benefits."
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One of the most significant challenges to social entrepreneurship and innovation is ensuring a diversity of approaches and participants in the movement. To truly deliver meaningful social change the leaders of the effort must share perspectives of the challenges faced by communities across the U.S. that can most appropriately come from members of those communities. Ashoka, through its All America initiative seeks to increase the diversity of social entrepreneurship practitioners.