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President's Fund for Racial Justice

Department Overview

A Call to Action 
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 in May of 2020, 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 established the President's Fund for Racial Justice (PFRJ).

The President’s Fund for Racial Justice supports Swarthmore programs focused on transformative racial justice. The first funding recipients were the Chester Children’s Chorus and Swarthmore Black Alumni Network (SBAN) internships. Since then, students, alumni, faculty, and staff have brought creative and compelling ideas to life thanks to the PFRJ, including events, lecture series, and funding for eight courses that promote engaged scholarship with the goal of improving the lives of Black and Brown people and other minoritized groups. Additionally, the College hosted conversations with scholars and authors including Deborah Miranda, Tommy Orange, Carole Boyce Davies, Nayeli Chavez-Dueñas, and Howard Stevenson.

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. As of February 2023, 904 alumni have given to the President's Fund for Racial Justice (PFRJ), with contributions totaling $521,310.50.

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 lasting impact of the fund with an endowed gift, contact Renée Atkinson, Associate Vice President of Advancement, at or 610-328-8323.

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.

President Smith