Wendy’s Gives Grant to Mississippi Families For Kids

Organization Receives $10,000 Grant as Part of Our Continued Social Justice Efforts

Wendy's Community-Based Giving
Wendy's Community-Based Giving

Last year, Wendy’s committed to donating at least $500,000 to support social justice, youth and education in the Black community as part of our journey towards supporting racial equality. To underscore this commitment, we launched a new community-based giving program that empowers Wendy’s family members to nominate organizations near and dear to their hearts to receive a grant. As a result, 23 charitable and deserving organizations received grants.

Through this new program, Mississippi Families for Kids, an organization dedicated to ensuring the permanency and well-being of children and families through educational services and training, received a $10,000 donation from Wendy’s. From supporting adoption, family services like counseling, outreach services and more, their efforts inspire all of us.

Community-based investments like these have the ability to create meaningful change. We sat down with Nadeane Sander, Outreach Director for Mississippi Families for Kids, who gave us a glimpse into their mission, why it matters and the impact the Wendy’s grant will have on their efforts.

Tell us a little bit more about Mississippi Families for Kids and your role there.

Nadeane Sander: The mission of Mississippi Families for Kids is to ensure permanency and well-being of families and children through specialized services. We have four focus areas to help us strategically achieve our mission:

- Adoption: Assist families with private adoptions, domestic adoptions and international adoptions, working with families of all kinds and children of all ages.

- Family Services: Provide counseling, respite care and many other programs to assist families and children in integration and communication.

- Outreach Services: Provide on-going support, intervention and direct resources to families.

- Help Me Grow: Connect families to health and developmental resources and services so children start school healthy and ready learn.

My primary role as Outreach Director is to identify areas of need throughout the state of Mississippi and translate those needs into specific solutions and funding sources. Not only am I responsible for developing and supervising all of our community involvement programs, but I coordinate the internal and external activities of community-based programs, such as the Youth Leadership Camp, and assist with grant writing and all fundraising activities sponsored by the agency.

Tell us about the impact this grant will have on the local community.

Nadeane: First, let me say on behalf of the entire Mississippi Families for Kids organization and all those we serve throughout the state, how grateful and blessed we are to receive the grant from Wendy’s. We like to think of ourselves as a small organization that does big things, so the $10,000 grant will enable us to bring a wider variety of our services to all our current clients, equipping us to reach out and service areas currently underserved throughout the state of Mississippi.

As a result of Wendy’s grant, we will respond to families who continue to deal with inadequate income, healthcare, mental health and abject poverty such as lack of food. To give you a sense of those we serve, 3 out of 5 of local children live below the federal poverty level, 80 percent lack adequate healthcare, nutrition and educational resources, and 89 percent of children served are African American. The COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely hard on the Mississippi Delta, where we serve many grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. These families were already struggling financially before COVID; with the pandemic’s impact adding to their struggles significantly.

This grant will provide tangible support for those who need it most, such as food and clothing, while enabling us to provide an array of educational services to children who need assistance with virtual learning. With so many families not having access to the technology needed to set up their children for success, these funds will allow us to provide computer assistance and other supplies that will make a real difference, in addition to offering emergency assistance like medicine and rent. As you can tell, the grant’s impact runs deep, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the support.

Tell us more about your focus on children in foster care.

Nadeane: A top priority is children who are presently in the foster care system, and it’s one that’s close to all our hearts at Mississippi Families for Kids. Many of the children we serve have been in foster care for a long time, which can lead to a sense of instability and distrust.

Children coming from this kind of living situation often develop challenging behaviors as coping mechanisms and are unfortunately more likely to drop out of high school, commit violent crimes, have difficulty finding stable employment, frequently depend on public assistance as adults, and often find themselves homeless. This harsh reality is why we hope through the provision of our services we can make permanency and well-being a reality for every child we encounter. It’s through support from organizations like Wendy’s that help us get even closer to this goal.