Giving Tuesday: A fundraising mission for racial healing

The Association of American Colleges and Universities has launched Unite for Truth to support campus centers across the U.S. seeking to 'educate for democracy'.

As part of Giving Tuesday, colleges and universities across the country have launched campaigns today seeking donations for a variety of endeavors, from supporting student scholarships to fellowships to other philanthropic causes.

One of the missions being forged by a coalition of institutions that comprise the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is Unite for Truth 2020, a fundraising initiative to back Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Centers across the country.

The campaign already has raised more than $134,000 toward its goal of $250,000, which will assist 150 self-sustaining, community-integrated campus centers in preparing young leaders to tackle systemic racism and “dismantle  belief in a hierarchy of human value” while building civic leadership.

The AAC&U, which is supported by 1,200 member institutions, says donations and support of these centers is crucial, given the recent high-profile deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the issues that continue to plague underserved populations, including poverty and a lack of education opportunities exacerbated by the digital divide and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our nation is facing a long-overdue reckoning around racial justice,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella. “Now is the time for higher education to live up to its historic mission of educating for democracy. AAC&U’s Giving Tuesday campaign is designed to help us continue to grow the number of TRHT Campus Centers. Contributions to the campaign will provide vital support for one of the most promising efforts now underway within higher education to advance racial and social justice.”

The group’s work during a tumultuous summer is highlighted in the report We Hold These Truths: Dismantling Racial Hierarchies, Building Equitable Communities. It features best practices from more than 400 leaders and 41 institutions that can serve as a guide for those interested in the effort.

Some 26 higher education institutions already have launched campus centers that serve to promote equal opportunity and treatment by promoting change, racial healing and relationship building. They include a pair of community colleges and a coalition from Charlotte, NC (University of North Carolina Charlotte, Johnson C. Smith University, and Queens University) as well as others from across the nation: Adelphi University, Agnes Scott College, Andrews University, Brown University, Dominican University, Duke University, George Mason University, Hamline University, Jacksonville State University, Marywood University, Millsaps College, Otterbein University, Rutgers University, Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville, Spelman College, The Citadel, University of Arkansas, University of California, Irvine, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, University of Maryland Baltimore County and the University of Cincinnati.

Education testing organization ETS, along with Wiley Education Services, have partnered with AAC&U in support of the new campus centers.

“We believe that the time is always right to work toward transformational change, and to address racism and bigotry head on,” said Lenora Green, executive director of the Center for Advocacy and Philanthropy (CAAP) at ETS, which is helping fund new centers at Rutgers University–Camden and at Mercer County Community College.

Added Todd Zipper, president of Wiley Education Services. “As a higher education community, we have an important role to play in educating our future leaders and creating better, more inclusive, and more equitable communities.

Those interested in donating to the initiative or finding out more about the project and the campus centers can go here.

Chris Burt
Chris Burt
Chris is a reporter and associate editor for University Business and District Administration magazines, covering the entirety of higher education and K-12 schools. Prior to coming to LRP, Chris had a distinguished career as a multifaceted editor, designer and reporter for some of the top newspapers and media outlets in the country, including the Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel, Albany Times-Union and The Boston Globe. He is a graduate of Northeastern University.

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