The murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police sparked a renewed movement against systemic racism, hate, and discrimination. As a groundswell of protests spread across the country, President Valerie Smith wrote to the Swarthmore community: “We stand today with those who are suffering from the threat and the consequences of racial violence, economic despair, disease, and death. Inspired by our values and ideals, we must dedicate ourselves to fighting for justice; to caring for those who are sick, hungry, or hurting in mind or spirit; and to repairing our broken world.”
Following that call to action, and in keeping Swarthmore College’s steadfast commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and its mission of educating students, promoting social justice and serving the common good, President Smith has established the President's Fund for Racial Justice.
The fund will support Swarthmore programs focused on transformative racial justice, such as the Chester Children’s Chorus and summer research opportunities through the Swarthmore Black Alumni Network. It will also be used to support curricular and co-curricular initiatives that promote engaged scholarship, especially, though not exclusively, in local and regional communities, all with the goal of improving the lives of Black and Brown people and other minoritized groups.
During Swarthmore’s Day of Caring in June 2020, 564 alumni contributed $224,000 to the President’s Fund for Racial Justice. An anonymous alum offered a $100,000 matching gift challenge as part of the Day of Caring, which was met and exceeded. That $100,000 contribution established a President’s Fund for Racial Justice endowment, ensuring it will continue in perpetuity.
Support the President’s Fund for Racial Justice with a gift that will help our community right now . To begin a conversation about supporting the long term impact of the fund with an endowed gift, contact Michael Gillum, Senior Director of Individual Giving & Donor Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-328-8334.
The first two recipients of support from the President’s Fund for Racial Justice are the Chester Children’s Chorus and Swarthmore Black Alumni Network Internships. President Smith also selected 8 courses for the fund to support in Spring 2021, as well as several events, including conversations with scholars and authors Deborah Miranda, Tommy Orange, Carole Boyce Davies, Nayeli Chavez, and Howard Stevenson.
About the Chester Children's Chorus
The Chester Children's Chorus (CCC) serves children and adolescents in Chester, Pennsylvania, one of the most economically disadvantaged cities in the United States. Housed at Swarthmore College, CCC provides music education, after-school enrichment, and a summer learning intensive program for young people residing and attending school in Chester.
About Swarthmore Black Alumni Network (SBAN) Internships
SBAN Internships fund student participation in fellowships, internships, and other summer opportunities that support researching Black culture, Black history, criminal justice, urban inequality, environmental justice, access to housing, access to education, cultural equity, social justice initiatives impacting communities of color, and the arts.
Quote from President Smith
However you choose to act in the face of these crises and injustices, I encourage you to do so with vigor and empathy.