Universities nationwide receive whopping $72 MILLION for anti-racism projects

The Andrew Mellon Foundation — one of the largest nonprofits in the United States — is pumping more than $72 million into American universities for anti-racism projects.

Universities are using the funds on a wide variety of projects, including presentations in Black churches, Native American cultural preservation, and a “social justice makerspace.”

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is pumping more than $72 million into American universities for anti-racism projects.

The group’s “Just Futures Initiative,” which aims to help academics “studying past periods of crisis and disruption in order to lead us to cultural and social transformation,” announced sixteen grant winners in early January. Each project will receive funding to contribute to the “public understanding of the nation’s racist past.”

Among the winners was Cornell University, which received $4,951,000 for a project called “Migrations: A Global Grand Challenge,” which will turn Cornell into a “living laboratory” to respond to “historical and ongoing nativist and racialized violence” in the United States.

Researchers will study a variety of questions surrounding three themes: “Authority, Governance and Racial Justice,” “Climate, Dispossession, and Natural and Built Environments,” and “Trafficking, Displacement and the Right to Stay Home.”

According to Cornell’s official news service, the project team will meet at a “social justice makerspace” on campus called the “Re-Possession Lab.”

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The University of Minnesota will use $4,997,000 for a project entitled “Minnesota Transform.” The funding will strengthen relationships with Tribal Nations for “projects focused on language revitalization, storytelling, and media.” 

A university press release quotes Robert Larsen — president of Lower Sioux Indian Community — who explained that the University of Minnesota “was built on lands stolen from our ancestors, and the main campus was constructed on one of the Dakota’s most sacred sites near the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers.”

[RELATED: Davidson College spends $1 million telling White churches how not to be racist]

Johns Hopkins University is using its $4,394,000 allotment for “Inheritance Baltimore: Humanities and Arts Education for Black Liberation.” 

The funds will help researchers work with Black institutions to “foreground the experiences of Baltimore’s Black community and combat institutional racism.”

The funds will also help Johns Hopkins researchers take their research into the city’s predominantly Black churches.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Chief Communications Officer, Vanessa Correa, told Campus Reform that the Mellon Foundation itself was the source of the funds.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft