Xavier University has received a $500,000 grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to fund the Center for Equity, Justice, and the Human Spirit at the Louisiana HBCU.
The grant will fund initiatives aimed at building leaders, improving child well-being and advancing community engagement and racial equity through a focus on building stronger ties between community, policy and practice in health, education, environment and criminal justice reform.
A large portion of the grant will fund an initiative to produce high-impact, solutions-oriented research regarding the creation of a more equitable public education system in New Orleans, in Louisiana and across the nation, said Dr. David W. Robinson-Morris, the center’s director.
Researchers will study and provide equitable solutions for disparities in student outcomes in PK-12 public education using assessment results, graduation rates and select college-readiness measures, added Robinson-Morris, who also serves as director of corporate and foundations relation and an assistant professor of education and counseling.
“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,” said Robinson-Morris.
The grant also provides additional funding to increase the center’s visibility through additional staffing, establishment of a fellowship program, creation of a public education diversity workforce pipeline program and launch of a public lecture series addressing systemic inequities in PK-16 education, criminal justice reform and environmental justice and sustainability.
The center was established in the academic affairs division in 2018. It is based on the pillars of intellectual engagement and innovation; policy research, outreach and activism; leadership capacity-building and cultural change; and faith and social justice.
“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,” said Dr. Anne McCall, Xavier’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “It is an extension of who we are and what we have done so well at Xavier, academically, over the last 95 years.”