In 2002, Miami-Dade County voters approved a referendum creating a special taxing district for the Children’s Trust, a local fund dedicated to improving the lives of children and families. Last year, amid COVID-19 and protests over police killings of black people, the trust put out a call for innovative ideas addressing social justice and racial equity, ultimately awarding more than $1.6 million to 22 projects.
Recipients include a virtual theater program that exposes middle and high school students to Miami’s racial history, a roundtable dining experience aimed at fostering cross-cultural understanding and an initiative in Opa-Locka to provide families with monthly activity kits promoting mental health and social bonding.
“We would have been somewhat tone-deaf if we did not focus on social justice issues,” says Children’s Trust CEO James Haj. “Everybody has been impacted by COVID, but your lower socioeconomic areas of town got impacted worse.”