LITTLE ROCK — The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation (WRF) is launching a new initiative, the Micah Fellows Program, in partnership with the Faith Matters Network and the Methodist Foundation of Arkansas, to help Arkansas faith leaders champion economic justice and anti-poverty efforts in their communities.
“Governor Rockefeller’s mission to bring equity to all Arkansans was fueled by his faith, including the charge ‘act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God’ from Micah 6:8,” said Reverend Shantell Hinton Hill, WRF equity officer. “This scripture continues to inspire the foundation’s strategic direction, AR Equity 2025, and programs like Micah Fellows.”
The Micah Fellows Program is a nine-month initiative focused on nurturing moral leadership around anti-poverty work in Arkansas. According to a 2019 ALICE in Arkansas report commissioned by Entergy Arkansas, United Way and WRF, more than 40 percent of households in the state are currently considered ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) with incomes above the Federal Poverty Line but less than the basic cost of living.
“Our state’s faith leaders are on the frontlines of anti-poverty efforts,” said Reverend Ryan D. Davis, associate pastor at Bullock Temple C.M.E. Church. “This fellowship program will tap into that shared knowledge to amplify and deepen the impact of our work.”
The Micah Fellows Program is funded by a $200,000 investment by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and an additional $50,000 from the Methodist Foundation for Arkansas. A significant portion of these funds will be used by faith leaders and their communities for anti-poverty and economic justice projects across the state.
“Through collaboration and study, fellows will explore theological frameworks to support their anti-poverty work,” said Reverend Jen Bailey, founder and executive director of the Faith Matters Network. “This program will equip them with the necessary tools and resources to educate and organize others to help achieve economic equity in Arkansas.”
The inaugural class of Micah Fellows will participate in media, advocacy and narrative training from September 2021 to May 2022. During that time, they will also have access to micro-grants for regional economic inclusion and justice projects.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation on the Micah Fellows Program,” said Rev. J. Wayne Clark, president and CEO of the Methodist Foundation for Arkansas. “Together, we hope to diminish and eventually eradicate the suffering so many Arkansas families currently face.”
Leaders interested in becoming a Micah Fellow may apply online at micahfellowsprogram.org/apply before July 1, 2021.