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Karson Institute receives $25,000 PNC Foundation grant to help address inequality, injustice, and racial inequity

Pattern representing the Karson Institute

The Karson Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice at Loyola University Maryland was awarded a $25,000 grant from the PNC Foundation to grow the institute’s impact through the expansion of programs addressing issues of inequality, injustice, and racial inequity.

The grant is part of a 2020 PNC announcement to commit $1 billion to help end systemic racism and support the economic empowerment of Black Americans and low- and moderate-income communities. Under the leadership of Karsonya “Kaye” Wise Whitehead, Ph.D., director of the Karson Institute, the funding will support the institute’s efforts to produce programming that tells America’s stories of racial injustice, social inequity, and systemic acts of violence against Black and Indigenous communities. The goal is to engage in conversations that foster understanding of the causes and consequences of systemic racism and discuss strategies for resolving violent conflict and building and sustaining peace.

An example of the institute’s programming is the COMloquium Series, which has featured conversations with thought leaders such as Dr. Anthony Fauci and U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume. Another example is Koffee and Konvo, where Dr. Whitehead hosts virtual monthly conversations for students and faculty from around the country to discuss timely issues and share plans to effect change on their campuses.

“America has a long and complicated history of wrestling with questions of social injustice, racism, and white supremacy. We have learned, over time, that the best course of action is to lean into these difficult and emotional conversations rather than shrink away from them. These moments lead to greater awareness and understanding of what it means to be an American and what it means to be actively engaged in shaping this country to be closer to the ideals outlined in our foundational documents. The Karson Institute is here to help facilitate these conversations by challenging our students, our colleagues, and the greater Baltimore community to be present at this moment and to learn how to bend their privilege to be the change that we so desperately need to see,” Whitehead said. “We are pleased to receive the grant from the PNC Foundation and will apply it to further developing and strengthening the framework needed to advance the movement for racial and social justice.”

The Karson Institute offers a scholarly space for academics, students, social justice workers, activists, and the community to research, discuss, debate, and explore answers to America’s questions on inequality, injustice, and racial inequity. Its mission is in alignment with the PNC Foundation’s goals to provide resources to seed ideas, foster development initiatives and encourage leadership in nonprofit organizations to enhance people’s lives every day.

“As a Main Street bank, PNC is focused on advancing economic empowerment, education and entrepreneurism in traditionally underserved populations and communities where we live and work,” said Laura Gamble, PNC regional president for Greater Maryland. “Loyola’s Karson Institute provides an invaluable forum for confronting, educating and inspiring essential discussions that reflect our shared commitment to understanding one another, improving the quality of life in our region and bringing economic empowerment and vibrancy to our communities.”