Atlantic Philanthropies has announced a ten-year, $60 million grant to Columbia University for a fellowship program focused on developing a generation of leaders dedicated to ending anti-black racism in the United States and South Africa.
The Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity program will support the efforts of visionary activists, authors, artists, and others to enhance their understanding of racism and strengthen their networks, skills, and capacity to lead movements for racial equity in their communities and around the world. The non-residential program will support three hundred and fifty fellows over its ten-year lifespan, annually supporting up to thirty-five fellows from the U.S. and South Africa. The first cohort of fellows will be announced in 2017.
The program is the latest in an interconnected set of fellowship programs established by Atlantic to connect and empower dynamic individuals who are committed to working across disciplines and borders to address some of the world's most critical challenges and advance fairer, healthier, and more inclusive societies.
Founding partners of the Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity program include Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD), the Center for Community Change, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley.
"At a time when issues of race and identity are at the forefront of intense debates in South Africa, the U.S., and around the globe, supporting multi-racial and multi-ethnic leadership to lead us forward could not be more urgent or essential," said Kavitha Mediratta, founding executive director of the Atlantic Fellows program. "I am humbled by this opportunity to help shape Atlantic's final investment to advance racial equity alongside such a distinguished and committed group of partners." Mediratta will step down from her position as chief strategy advisor at the foundation on December 31 to assume her new role.