Extension Innovation projects target educational outreach, racial equity

Addressing racial inequities via education, parenting, and outreach along with elevating all voices in communities are focuses of new UW–Madison Division of Extension projects recently awarded funding for 2021 and beyond. The projects are part of an annual Innovation Funding series to advance projects designed by Extension staff and faculty to further community outreach.

The competitive series awarded more than $150,000 to 12 projects. Spreading across Wisconsin, the projects also cover Extension’s topic areas including agriculture, community development, health, families, natural resources, and youth engagement.

“Extension is continually looking to keep on the cutting edge of outreach and research, and these projects represent new ways to engage communities and organizations in their missions to improve lives for all residents of Wisconsin,” said Dr. Karl Martin, Dean & Director for the UW–Madison Division of Extension.

The 2021 Extension Innovation Funding series includes:

  • Addressing Racial Inequity in High School and College Success by Expanding Virtual Juntos Family Workshops: bringing Latinx parents, youth, and communities together to gain knowledge, skills, and resources to ensure student academic success and to make higher education a family goal. Juntos (“together” in Spanish) Family Engagement Workshops are an innovative and culturally responsive method of teaching about academic success and higher education by engaging the whole family as a part of the process.
  • Foundations for Equitable Program Development Course: building data capacity to strategically and systematically address disparate impacts of Extension programs and services according to race, ethnicity, gender, and other factors.
  • Child Care Business & Ecosystems Support Program in Southwest Wisconsin: A Regional & Multi-Disciplinary Approach: developing a business support program for child care professionals to start an in-home licensed child care business, meeting a demand from families looking for in-home child care options as opposed to center-based child care.
  • A Learner-Centered Approach to Virtual Program Delivery: expanding delivery methods of virtual programming to diverse communities and under-represented demographic groups across Wisconsin.
  • Initial Development and Refinement of an Anti-Racist Parenting Toolkit & Training: bias prevention toolkit for families including equipping adults with skills for using readily available children’s literature and digital media as age-appropriate teaching tools for promoting multicultural awareness and an orientation toward equity among young children.
  • Growing Connections: Community-Based Gardens: youth-led beautification and infrastructural support for Milwaukee-area community-based growing spaces.
  • Co-constructing a Spanish-Language Leadership Program: supporting a program grounded in shared voice, balanced power dynamics, and the centering of Hispanic/Latinx social, cultural and linguistic perspectives​.
  • Milwaukee African American Entrepreneurship Research Initiative: building virtual programming that directly includes community members of color to address racial inequity experienced in entrepreneurship.
  • Working with HMoob Community Partners to Advance Outcomes for HMoob Farmers: continuing Extension’s efforts to further engage HMoob (Hmong) community organizations as partners to advance outcomes for HMoob farmers through the implementation of culturally and linguistically relevant educational programming based on the challenges and goals identified by HMoob farmers.
  • A Fair and Just Recovery: Conversations for Action that Address Racial Inequity Issues: facilitating community conversations that support a fair and just recovery from COVID-19 focusing on centering the voices of those most impacted to build awareness and take action toward addressing social and economic inequalities.
  • 2021 Restorative Justice Summit: continuing a statewide educational forum that brings together young people and youth-serving professionals to collaborate in advancing equitable, evidence-based restorative justice, and peacemaking practices that aim to transform youth services, programs, and communities in Wisconsin.
  • Exploration of Hemp Production and Quality in Wisconsin: overcoming the existing situation of very little replicated research on production and quality of hemp grain, fiber, or essential oils that exists for Wisconsin or the Upper Midwest. A strategic plan on bringing hemp from field to market will be established in partnership with the Ho-Chunk Nation, UW campuses, and private industries.