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The Rockefeller Foundation Commits $1.5 Million to Support the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research

Funds will go towards antiracist research and public policy proposals addressing racial and economic inequality

MASSACHUSETTS | October 1, 2020 – Today, The Rockefeller Foundation announced its support for the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research with a $1.5 million grant, as part of the Foundation’s continued commitment to expand equity and economic opportunity for low wage families and communities of color across the country. The funds from this grant will support the Center’s antiracist research and data analysis to inform public and private policymakers.

As one of the founding funders of the Center for Antiracist Research, The Rockefeller Foundation continues its support of grantees who are committed to innovative policy solutions that address the structural causes of racial and economic inequality. Low-income Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPoC) will significantly benefit from the Center’s efforts to mitigate the effects of historically discriminatory policies through research, narrative engagement with stakeholders and the general public, and advocacy efforts.

“Racism is finally at or near the top of America’s agenda,” says Otis Rolley III, Senior Vice President of The Rockefeller Foundation’s U.S. Equity and Economic Opportunity Initiative. “The racial wealth gap in America is both striking and durable, as a result of systemic racist policies and practices. It takes wealth to make wealth, and Black and Brown Americans have largely been excluded from inter-generational access to capital and finance. The Center for Antiracist Research will help provide solutions to these systemic issues that have long restricted BIPoC people from obtaining wealth, and will work toward equity and justice for all.” He adds, “We are thrilled to be working with the Center – built in the very halls where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once studied – on practical solutions to these issues.”

Funding will also support the Center’s efforts to build a Racial Data Tracker that will track, visualize, and analyze racial inequities while also training generations of racial data scientists. Building on the data-driven insights, the Center will convene specialists, scholars, and policymakers to create an antiracist agenda that targets the most pernicious social effects of systemic racism. Separately, the Foundation is engaging Dr. Ibram X. Kendi as an advisor to the Foundation’s internal DEI and racial equity work.

“It’s a game changing gift for us,” says Dr. Kendi, scholar and founding director of Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research. “It will allow us to accelerate our COVID and racial data tracker and our research teams to really study the problem and make more of a policy impact.”


About The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation advances new frontiers of science, data, and innovation to solve global challenges related to health, food, power, and economic mobility. As a science-driven philanthropy focused on building collaborative relationships with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation seeks to inspire and foster large-scale human impact that promotes the well-being of humanity throughout the world by identifying and accelerating breakthrough solutions, ideas, and conversations. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.


Media Contact

The Rockefeller Foundation

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About the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research

The mission of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research is to convene researchers and practitioners from various disciplines to figure out novel and practical ways to understand, explain, and solve seemingly intractable problems of racial inequity and injustice. The Center fosters exhaustive racial research, research-based policy innovation, data-driven educational and advocacy campaigns, and narrative-change initiatives. The Center is working toward building an antiracist society that ensures equity and justice for all.