Surdna’s Unwavering Commitment to Advancing Racial Justice in America’s Communities

The Surdna Foundation is extremely disappointed in the Supreme Court’s ruling today on affirmative action, which will prevent colleges and universities from considering race in admissions. We wish tools like affirmative action were not necessary to ensure that all people can gain access to opportunities on an equal footing. But many aspects of our society–including access to higher education–exhibit glaring racial disparities, largely because of the U.S.’s long history of discrimination against people of color, especially anti-Black racism. This legacy of exclusion demands that we continue to use effective tools to create more opportunity, rather than allow racial exclusion to persist.

Though the Supreme Court has curtailed the use of affirmative action in college admissions, we are encouraged to see exceptional leaders developing and implementing ways to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in their institutions and communities. Ample evidence shows that a variety of institutions, such as schools, workplaces, and government agencies, are more effective and generate better outcomes when they include a variety of people–including those from diverse racial backgrounds—who come with different points of view, schools of thought, and lived experiences. By extension, we believe that our communities and society will also reap a diversity dividend if racial disparities are eliminated.

As a longtime social justice funder, the Surdna Foundation in 2018 decided to place racial justice at the center of our mission to more effectively diagnose and address longstanding priorities, including:

  • closing the racial wealth gap, which should redress historic exclusion and will grow the economic pie for everyone,
  • eliminating disparate negative environmental impacts on communities of color, thereby improving conditions for all, and
  • supporting artists of color who have been chronically underfunded despite their outsized contributions to American culture.

We remain absolutely steadfast in our commitment to advancing racial justice in America’s communities. A better future depends on all of us having an equal chance to provide for our families and have opportunities to shine. We will continue to support efforts to affirmatively further racial diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in all that we do.

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Joint Statement from 40+ Foundations