27 June 2018 | The Lumina Foundation has given a $50,000 grant to Southern Adventist University to fund a project addressing racial justice and equity on campus. The grant which was given this month will fund activities that include recording and sharing oral histories, inviting nationally-recognized speakers to Southern, funding creative student-led programs. The funds will also pay for  research into how these activities are affecting student and employee attitudes.

“Southern has an opportunity to be a model of a large institution that weaves racial reconciliation into its DNA, even though trying to achieve this goal can be challenging,” said Kristie Wilder, JD, dean of the School of Social Work and co-director of the project.

Southern was one of 19 colleges and universities selected from a pool of 312 across the country, to receive the funding.

Lumina’s fund for Racial Justice and Equity was launched last year in response to racially-driven violence on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

“As a philanthropic leader, Lumina shares a deep passion and concern about the nation’s racial climate, especially on college campuses,” said president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, Jamie Merisotis. “These campuses have shown a willingness to address racial disparities at a systemic level: They recognize that achieving equitable results is about more than promoting diversity—it’s about whether the institution fosters a climate in which every student feels welcome and has the same opportunity to earn a degree or certificate of value, regardless of race or ethnicity.”

A press release from Southern said that Wilder and the other two co-directors—Stephanie Guster, MSW, assistant professor of social work, and Rachel Williams-Smith, PhD, dean of the School of Journalism and Communication—had “the full support of Southern’s administration” in addressing racial disparities.

“Each individual student on our diverse campus is infinitely valuable in God’s eyes, and we want them to feel that love here—to feel safe, valued, and at home,” said David Smith, PhD, president of Southern. “This project will be another piece in our ongoing efforts to foster that kind of environment on our campus.”

Lumina Foundation Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis, Indiana. It focuses on making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to everyone. The Foundation’s goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.

Image courtesy of Southern Adventist University.

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