Kalamazoo College has received a $200,000 planning grant from the Arcus Foundation to prepare for the establishment of a social justice leadership center at the college.
The grant will fund a planning process that has been underway all spring and summer. By the fall, Kalamazoo College expects to request additional funding from Arcus to support the launch and initial operations of the Center, including the search process for a director. In 2010 or 2011, following the launch of the center, Arcus will be open to receiving an endowment request from the college to fund the center’s ongoing operations.
“Our mission is to provide enlightened leadership to a richly diverse and increasingly complex world,” said Kalamazoo College President Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran, Ph.D. “The center that we envision will help us accomplish that by integrating our commitment to social justice and service learning with our strong academic and curriculum components. It will be an integral component of the college’s strategic plan and of our students’ educational experience.”
She said the center will be located in a yet-to-be-determined existing building on the Kalamazoo College campus. In addition to a social justice leadership curriculum, its offerings could include conferences, renowned visiting scholars, research and faculty development.
“The center has the potential to bring national and global prominence to the College, and to provide transformative experiences to the next generation of social justice leaders,” added Wilson-Oyelaran. She defined social justice as “the societal condition in which all persons are treated equitably and without prejudice, irrespective of ethnic origin, gender, possessions, physical ability, race, religion, and sexual orientation, and are able to contribute to their fullest potential.”
The vision for a social justice leadership center at Kalamazoo College closely aligns with the Arcus Foundation’s social justice grant making, which is inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity, and race. Founded in 2000 by Jon Stryker, Kalamazoo College trustee and 1982 alumnus, the Arcus Foundation pursues its social justice mission locally – in Kalamazoo and Michigan – nationally and globally.