Xavier’s Center for Equity, Justice, and the Human Spirit Receives $500,000 Grant

NEW ORLEANS – The W. K. Kellogg Foundation recently awarded Xavier University of Louisiana a $500,000 grant that will benefit the Center for Equity, Justice, and the Human Spirit at Xavier. Established in August 2018, the Center for Equity, Justice, and the Human Spirit is a critical research, teaching, and public engagement endeavor housed within the Division of Academic Affairs. The grant will fund its initiatives to improve child wellbeing, build leaders, and advance community engagement and racial equity.

“Our vision for the Center for Equity, Justice, and the Human Spirit has always been to establish a site for scholarly and policy-focused research, community impact, and the development of a campus community education in restorative justice practices,” said Xavier president Reynold Verret, noting that its initial focus is centered on in PK-16 education, criminal justice reform, and environmental justice and sustainability. “This generous lead gift from the Kellogg Foundation will provide a launching pad which will propel us towards all of those goals.”

According Dr. David W. Robinson-Morris, director of the Center for Equity, Justice, and the Human Spirit, director of Corporate and Foundations Relation and assistant professor in the Division of Education and Counseling at Xavier, a major portion of the Kellogg Foundation grant will provide funding for an initiative to produce high-impact, solutions-oriented research regarding the creation of a more equitable public education system in New Orleans and across the nation.

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“We are extremely grateful to the Kellogg Foundation for their lead investment in the work of the Center for Equity, Justice, and the Human Spirit at Xavier,” said Robinson-Morris in a statement. “The Foundation’s support of our PK-16 educational equity initiatives will allow the Center to research, interrogate, and offer solutions relating to key factors that provoke and exacerbate disparities in student outcomes.”

The grant also provides additional funding to increase the visibility of The Center for Equity, Justice, and the Human Spirit through additional staffing, the establishment of a fellowship program, the creation of a public education diversity workforce pipeline program, and the launch of a public lecture series addressing systemic inequities.

“Our Center positions itself as a site of knowledge production while transcending traditional barriers between research, community engagement, and applied practice,” said Dr. Anne McCall, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at Xavier University, in a statement. “This gift from the Kellogg Foundation allows us to concentrate our efforts in this regard in public education equity, while enhancing our focus on criminal justice reform and environmental justice. It is an extension of who we are and what we have done so well at Xavier, academically, over the last 95 years.”

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