Grant for Racial Justice and Equity Awarded to Southern Adventist University

Southern Adventist University has received a $50,000 grant from Lumina Foundation’s Fund for Racial Justice and Equity, a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, to fund a multi-pronged project addressing racial justice and equity on campus. Project components include recording and sharing oral histories, inviting nationally-recognized speakers to Southern, funding creative student-led programs, and researching the impact of all these efforts on employee and student attitudes.

“Southern has an opportunity to be a model of a large institution that weaves racial reconciliation into its DNA, even though trying to achieve this goal can be challenging,” said Kristie Wilder, JD, dean of the School of Social Work and co-director of the project.

From a pool of 312 nation-wide applicants, Southern was one of 19 colleges and universities selected to receive funding from Lumina’s Fund for Racial Justice and Equity. The fund was created last year in response to racially motivated violence in Charlottesville on the campus of the University of Virginia.

“As a philanthropic leader, Lumina shares a deep passion and concern about the nation’s racial climate, especially on college campuses,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “These campuses have shown a willingness to address racial disparities at a systemic level: They recognize that achieving equitable results is about more than promoting diversity—it’s about whether the institution fosters a climate in which every student feels welcome and has the same opportunity to earn a degree or certificate of value, regardless of race or ethnicity.”

In these efforts, Wilder and the other two co-directors—Stephanie Guster, MSW, assistant professor of social work, and Rachel Williams-Smith, PhD, dean of the School of Journalism and Communication—have the full support of Southern’s administration.

“Each individual student on our diverse campus is infinitely valuable in God’s eyes, and we want them to feel that love here—to feel safe, valued, and at home,” said David Smith, PhD, president of Southern. “This project will be another piece in our ongoing efforts to foster that kind of environment on our campus.”

About Lumina Foundation

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis, Indiana, that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Lumina envisions a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. The Foundation’s goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.

This press release and photo were provided by Southern Adventist University.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

The Word Christian should make the project redundant.

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The first phrase above is eminently true.

Regrettably, it is debatable whether the second phrase is totally true for the LGBT students on your campus.

That said, the most POTENT/PERSUASIVE step to show that Racial Justice and Equity are functioning in the Southern Union, is to combine OAKWOOD amd SOUTHERN student bodies on one campus!

Duplication of facilities is costly for tithe payers.

The larger the student body, the more course/career offerings are possible.
The more and better physical facilities —science laboratories, sports facilities, concert halls, etc are financiallly feasible.

This racial segregation of students is surely obsolete/archaic/antediluvian in today’s more egalitarian society!

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Absolutely, but conduct is an entirely different issue.

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WHY should it take $50,000 for Christian brothers and sisters to live in a
LOVING Christian community and in unity???

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You can get that done for $50,000?! You’re a miracle worker!

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Tim –
Perhaps it is NOT the students who are having difficulty living in harmony together,
and enjoying each other in Christian Fellowship!!!

Perhaps it is ADMINISTRATION — ALL the “ADULTS IN CHARGE” who are having
EXTREME difficulty accepting each student as God’s child and relating to them as such.

Remember when a few Gay/Lesbians at Andrews wanted to sell a few baked goods
at the Andrews University Market parking lot to give a few bucks [$$'s] to housing unit
in Berrien Springs???
The Administration had SUCH A FIT!!! It actually made NATIONAL NEWS???
But it backfired on the Administration. The students received several $1000’s in
donations from all over the country to give to the housing program.

Perhaps THIS is the same problem at Southern. Un-loving ADMINISTRATION.


Robin –
Oakwood, Like Andrews.
Support and Control does not come from their Unions.

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Since 2014, or not later than the 2015 GC session, the NAD has taken over administrative oversight of Oakwood University.
Since most subsidies to GC institutions come from the NAD anyway, little has changed as far as the amount of denominational contribution to Oakwood U is concerned.

A portion of the NAD budget also funds Regional Cap, Regional School and Hispanic Cap/School. What does “cap” mean?

working capital perhaps?

Special appropriations or subsidies to Regional (Black) Conferences/Regional (Black) Schools and Hispanic Ministries/Hispanic Scholarship Assistance? Speaking of racial justice and equity…:wink:

Nice story. Congratulations to Southern and its faculty and administrators, who are committed to building a better community. All effort to promote racial justice and equality should be applauded. I hope to see more stories like these at Spectrum.

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I don’t think I understand your point or your wink. Please elaborate.

I expect there will be objections to my view. So be it.

I do not see how this grant contributes to closing the alleged ethnic divide, It merely exacerbates the divide by rehearsing past events and such a grant is the fertile ground for Al Shrapnel(Sharpton) and his likes.

Fortunately, the Administration has eliminated Affirmative Action from its objectives.


Tim, thanks for asking. As a Southeast Asian, of mixed ethnicity, I sat briefly for a few years as an Advisory Council member of the Pacific Union Conference/NAD Asian Pacific Ministries. We met once a year under the direction of a Hispanic NAD VP for Multicultural Ministries. We soon learned that annual budgetary appropriations to Hispanic and Black Regional Ministries were fixed way back as policy and may not be altered. Given such information, our group of Asian Pacific advisory council members soon came up with a recommendation, in the interest of ethnic justice and fairness, for the NAD to include a yearly appropriation for Asian Pacific Ministries in proportion to the aggregate annual tithe/non-tithe contributions of Asian Pacific congregations. “Let me handle this; leave it to me,” we were told.

Honestly, I don’t think regional subdivisions into race-based sub-conferences is a good idea. From what I’ve seen, those in control of receiving grants may be trusted to further their own peculiar, political agenda.

Internal Political Fallout From The Emergence Of An Immigrant Majority: The Impact Of The Transformation Of Seventh-Day Adventism In Metropolitan New York
Ronald Lawson
Source: Review of Religious Research, 1999, Volume 41, Pages 20-46
P 38, 45

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So you don’t like Sharpton. Do you happen to have a similar nickname for David Duke?

nust you SHOUT to have your opinion read and understood? About the merger, i bet a Sabbath meal that the folks at Oakwood College do NOT share your sentiments.