Five local innovators, led by their passion and ingenuity, create the opportunities for the underserved population in their communities. They are a part of non-profit startups interested in climate change issues, private sector government, and art community-based doula agency for black women. Their work represents an example of innovation in Madison, and they are also this year’s M list awardees.
M list is created with the aim to recognize the entrepreneurial spirit in the city of Madison. Over twenty prize-winners have been recognized annually. In 2019 the M list partnered with an online non-profit news outlet — Madison365.
The main reason they have been honored is that they recognize unmet needs in their communities, and they aim to resolve these issues in a creative way. They are shaping the profile of the city of Madison as a place that embraces diversity and inclusion as part of its evolutionary process.
At this years’ M list event, two individuals and three non-profits have been recognized as contributors in the sector of diversity and inclusion. Annik Dupaty and Shiva Bidar are the individual honorees. Harambe Village, Loka Initiative, and Maydam are an organization focused on wide-ranging work. Let’s meet them one by one in order to get familiar with their amazing work of enriching people’s lives and experiences.
Maydam helps young students of color to enter science fields like STE, technology, math, and engineering. Winnie Karanja, executive director and founder of Maydm, learned to code on her own in high school as one of the two female students of color in class. She is prone to think that students of color don’t see themselves in STEM fields, and they are generally underrepresented in them.
Coding and tech sciences are growing in importance in our society, which explains why communities that have been underrepresented the larger part. Access to digital and technological skills leads to high salaries fostering economic growth. It is also essential for addressing disparity issues in all social fields like health education.
By organizing summer coding class programs and offering paid internships to its attendants, Maydm hopes to change the perspective on where the talent and excellence is.
Loca Initiative closely works with faith leaders in order to find solutions to environment-related crises and issues around the globe. This issue seems insurmountable, but local mentors from Loka initiative are discovering new ways of how faith leaders are able to devote to climate change issue and help to solve it.
Dekila Chungyalpa, the director of the Initiative, says that this is a mind-opening process interested in engaging faith leaders who are ready to be part of the decision-making process as stakeholders. Loka wants to support faith leaders in helping them with designing projects and communication with the public.
In May 2019, a three-day symposium organized by Loka took place at the Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton. The aim was to build partnerships, and educate participants about different religions, scientists, scholars, and also discover new approaches for the faith-led environmental endeavor.
Dekila Chungyalpa also called the people from indigenous communities to take part in their activities because of their earth-caring philosophy and inherently ecological way of living. Indigenous participants included Navajo, Ojibwe, Menominee, and Cheyenne.
Mrs. Bidar helps connect local color and LGBT communities in finding support and funding. For Shiva, the inclusion is not about new inventions and technology solutions but rather in giving people the means and funds so they can create changes in their lives and careers.
Shiva has influenced the city of Madison and UW Health to allocate the funds for organizations doing good work. She was born in Iran and spent her childhood in Spain. Bidar came aboard at UW Health in 2016, and after only six months she was promoted as the first chief diversity officer. Since then, UW refocused on projects involving LGBT and people of color community issues.
The projects are realized through donations that are trusted and far away from what was seen as a sponsorship. Shiva abstains of the word “grants’’ while talking about donations.
Thanks to Bidar, diversity and inclusion became the day-to-day business in UW Health. Last November, a series of micro learnings has been launched by her team in order to serve the managers to easily integrate topics like racism, social disparities, and identification of microaggressions.
Annik is an events director at the MMoCA. Through her multidisciplinary team, she strives to make underserved artists more visible. Check out Chroma, an event form April 2018, created by Dupaty’s team. The Project consisted of artist-designed, color-rich spaces with multisensory exhibits followed by music, cocktails, and buffets. The experience was described as a celebration of colors in all its beauty and intensity. Chroma refers to the mission of MMoCA, which is to preserve and represent contemporary art as well as to enable an educative experience that will influence people as individuals and as a part of their community.
“Harambee” represents the African coworking approach for the benefit of the entire society. It comes from Swahili language, and it is the organization that unites professional doulas to work closely with expectant mothers.
Harambee village was formed after South Madison Health and Family center closed its doors in 2010. Today Harambee village is providing a variety of social and health services to an underserved population focusing on maternal support to women of color, understanding their background and culture and meeting their needs in a respectful manner.