The U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina and Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College will ban colleges and universities from considering race in admissions processes. In another landmark case, 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, the Supreme Court ruled that a business is allowed to decline to serve customers based on religious beliefs. These decisions are profound in scope and impact and require serious attention as they threaten progress toward equity and especially racial equity.
CMF has been working with you, our community of philanthropy, to put equity at the center of our work by asking, what does equity mean to us? In light of the aforementioned decisions, we are all forced to address this and many other questions in a deeper and far more urgent manner.
Many in our CMF community of philanthropy recognize this urgency and are committed to advancing racial equity and addressing systemic and structural racism in policies and systems – especially the education system. In light of the Supreme Court’s decision, a growing number of members have been sharing statements about the ramifications the Affirmative Action decision may have on the communities we serve.
CMF members The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, The Skillman Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, Ford Foundation, Ruth Mott Foundation, Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and The Kresge Foundation – and CMF itself – have joined philanthropy peers and partner organizations around the country in signing a joint statement in response to the rulings.
The statement references: “We will remain steadfast in our collective mission to create a more equitable nation within the bounds of the law. To forge ahead, we must continue to advocate for the human dignity of all people — regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or country of origin — with renewed vigor and commitment.” Read the full joint statement.
We have been tracking what members of our Michigan community of philanthropy have been sharing following the Supreme Court’s decision.
CMF members Ric DeVore, president of Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, Angelique Power, president and CEO of The Skillman Foundation, Darren Walker, president of Ford Foundation, and Rip Rapson, president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation, have also released a joint op-ed, originally published in The Detroit News.
The op-ed references: “Refusing to acknowledge race doesn’t make the exquisite design of racism disappear. It makes it take hold even stronger. The truth is that students of certain races, of certain poverty levels, of certain disabilities, all have the deck stacked against them. Acknowledging this isn’t acknowledging defeat — it’s delivering a clear-eyed analysis of reality that allows for clear-eyed solutions on how to tackle the issue.” Read the full op-ed.
“My intention is not to criticize the Court, but instead to remind us all that the mission of Kresge remains unequivocal and inviolate: to create the essential building blocks of opportunity and equity in American cities. We will not waver from that call,” Rapson shared in a statement.
“In this defining moment, we remain steadfastly committed to the fight for racial equity and opportunity for all students," La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, shared in a statement.
"While disappointed by the ruling, we are not deterred. As a foundation committed to advancing racial equity and economic mobility, we see this as a moment to act, not retreat,” The Joyce Foundation shared.
"As an organization dedicated to advancing race equity, the Ruth Mott Foundation views the Supreme Court's decision in the college admissions cases as a giant step backward in the struggle to dismantle systemic and structural racism. We join other funders and philanthropic organizations in denouncing the decision," Ruth Mott Foundation shared on social.
Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, shared his reflections on the rulings in a guest essay in The New York Times Opinion Section.
CMF is committed to centering equity and, in doing so, will continue to lift up member voices advocating for greater prosperity for all. Over the coming weeks and beyond, CMF will continue sharing more insights and information on philanthropy’s response and the important issues we face and offer resources and actionable guidance members can use and other ways philanthropy can lead in the pursuit of equitable systems and inclusive diversity.