ETTERS, Pa. – As the United States continues to confront the long-standing effects of systemic racism and ongoing discrimination, EmbraceRace has received an additional $1 million from Rite Aid Healthy Futures to support its important work helping children learn about race in healthy, identity-affirming ways.
Founded in 2016, EmbraceRace drives progress by creating and curating tools, resources, discussion spaces and networks that parents, early childhood educators and other adults need to raise children who are thoughtful, informed and brave about race. The organization aims to reach more than 5 million parents and caregivers by 2025, building upon the surge of interest it has seen since the racial reckoning of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
The latest funding from Healthy Futures will support EmbraceRace’s continued creation of self-directed online resources for parents and guardians interested in learning and strengthening their caregiving practices. The grant will also fund new place-based groups that bring together people in the organization’s early childhood community, as well as EmbraceRace’s field infrastructure, evaluation tools and a national conference attracting many leaders and practitioners in the field.
“Figuring out how best to support the development of healthy racial sensibilities in children is difficult, uncertain work,” said Andrew Grant-Thomas, co-founder of EmbraceRace. “While middle and high school teachers can find substantial support, we’ve only recently begun to build up the resources to help parents and other caregivers do this work. This is especially true of materials aimed at parents of young children, though we know that even infants and toddlers have begun to make sense of race, whether or not adults choose to engage them explicitly on the subject. EmbraceRace helps fill that gap.”
EmbraceRace serves children, parents, educators and other caregivers and child-facing professionals throughout the United States, including in major Rite Aid communities such as New York, Los Angeles and the Bay Area, among many others.
As Rite Aid Healthy Futures continues its journey to become more thoughtful and informed about racial equity, it has intentionally invested in Black- and Brown-led organizations, children’s hospitals and community nonprofits addressing society issues such as hunger, homelessness and health care.
EmbraceRace has proven an instrumental partner, with its relationship with Healthy Futures now entering its fourth year. The latest Healthy Futures grant builds upon $1 million issued to support EmbraceRace in 2020. That initial investment enabled EmbraceRace to expand its programs, deepen its network, build its team and become an emerging leading voice in the early racial learning community.
Since George Floyd’s murder in 2020, EmbraceRace has experienced an influx of calls for partnership from the nonprofit, philanthropic and corporate sectors, as well as demand from parents, caregivers and educators for even more guidance.
The years since then have only solidified the need for EmbraceRace’s resources and mission. Ongoing health disparities have left Black, Latino and Native Americans disproportionately affected by the COVID-10 pandemic and high-profile instances of racial discrimination and violence have devastated the Asian and Pacific Islander community.
“EmbraceRace addresses the critical need to ensure racial awareness, learning and sensitivity are introduced to kids at early ages,” said Matt DeCamara, executive director of Rite Aid Healthy Futures. “At a time when it’s so important to work for racial understanding and equity, their programs provide parents, caregivers and educators with the resources to guide kids through the constant challenges associated with bias and discrimination. Rite Aid Healthy Futures is proud to support EmbraceRace as it meets this moment of great need and influences the futures of countless children and families.”
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