Skip to main content
video with monica smith and steve bahls

Dr. Monica Smith, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, and President Steve Bahls explain the fund's relationship to Augustana's mission and  Five Faith Commitments.

Now is the time: Presidential Racial Justice and Equity Fund

Students are encouraged to submit their proposals for grants from the new Presidential Racial Justice and Equity Fund, established last spring by Augustana President Steve Bahls and Jane Bahls.

The fund encourages students to initiate projects on campus or within the Quad Cities community that support equity and justice. 

"We created this fund because of the shock that we saw with the George Floyd killing," said President Bahls. "We've also seen that with Jacob Blake, with law enforcement officers not valuing lives. Well, Black lives do matter and I do hope that this fund can, in fact, raise consciousness at Augustana College and in our community."

Projects may involve research, events, artistic materials or performance, pilot projects or educational materials. Projects should require a one-time investment rather than a need for sustained investment.

Transcript

Dr. Monica Smith

Greetings. I want to talk to you a little bit about the Presidential Racial Justice and Equity Fund that was established by President Steve Bahls and Jane Bahls this year. 

It's really important to begin to talk about racial justice as a contemporary social justice issue in America. 

Augustana College has a long-standing history and a commitment to racial justice. In fact, social justice is one of our Five Faith Commitments.

We are even more committed now to make sure that our students have every opportunity to learn about racial injustices, inequity and other social justice in contemporary America.

If we're going to live out our faith commitment and our role as a higher education institution, it's imperative that now our students, our faculty and our staff are more committed in all of our actions to ensure that we're doing things that will improve the world.

President Steve Bahls

Thank you, Dr Smith.

Jane and I had the privilege of establishing this fund after the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis. After that killing, we visited with many of our friends, Augustana employees, Augustana students and Augustana alums, and we saw a mixture of emotions: anger, disappointment, frustration.

But we also saw, particularly in our students, a resolve to make the world better, to do something to promote racial justice and equity. My generation has done some things but it is now time to hand off much of the work to other generations so that we can work together.

We created this fund because of the shock that we saw with the George Floyd killing. We've also seen that with Jacob Blake, with law enforcement officers not valuing lives. Well, Black lives do matter and I do hope that this fund can, in fact, raise consciousness at Augustana College in our community and take this historic time in our nation and leverage it for greater resolve for justice.

Dr. Monica Smith

Students who are interested in submitting an application for a project should submit that application to vpdiversity@augustana.edu.

A committee established by my office will review each application and here's what we're looking for:

We're looking for projects that will raise awareness, those that will promote dialogue between different constituencies, those that are educational research events,  artistic materials, educational materials or artistic performances.

There are so many ways that we can impact racial justice and we want to make sure that you're able to do that in ways that fit with our Five Faith Commitments, in ways that fit your vocational discernment.

We look forward to supporting several projects each year. I look forward to getting your application. Let's move onward together.

If you have news, send it to sharenews@augustana.edu! We love hearing about the achievements of our alumni, students and faculty.