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Indiana University establishes Black Philanthropy Circle

As the next step in its ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion, Indiana University has launched the Indiana University Black Philanthropy Circle.

Formed by IU alumni and friends of the university, the circle will address education issues faced by Black communities through the power of philanthropic giving. In partnership with the Indiana University Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, the Black Philanthropy Circle will establish programs to improve the recruitment, retention and degree attainment for Black students, faculty and staff on all of IU’s campuses and beyond.

“Philanthropy is the force that makes great universities like IU possible,” said James C. Wimbush, vice president of diversity, equity and multicultural affairs, dean of the University Graduate School and Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership at Indiana University. “The work of the Black Philanthropy Circle will make IU’s campuses more accessible and welcoming than ever, and we are extremely grateful for the passionate individuals who have helped make this initiative possible.”

“We could not be more excited to announce the creation of the Black Philanthropy Circle,” said Joyce Q. Rogers, Indiana University Foundation vice president for development and external relations for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs. “Given that August is Black Philanthropy Month, there is no better time for us to reaffirm the impact that philanthropic giving has on students, faculty and staff of color on all of IU’s campuses.”

The Black Philanthropy Circle first grew from the passions of 23 founding members and will support academic resources, create scholarships and fund initiatives to improve access to education and erase barriers to degree attainment. Wimbush and IU alumna Rose Mays will lead the circle as interim co-chairs.

“It is an honor to be able to serve the Black Philanthropy Circle as interim co-chair,” Mays said. “It is difficult to overstate the difference that philanthropic giving can make, especially in the lives of students from historically underrepresented backgrounds. The other founding members of the circle and I look forward to expanding that difference to support even more students, faculty and staff at IU.”

Supporting research on diversity and philanthropy will also be a key component of the circle’s goals. To further these aims, the circle will collaborate with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI, the first school in the world dedicated to studying philanthropy. Through this partnership, the Black Philanthropy Circle will support groundbreaking research and other initiatives on diversity and philanthropic giving. The first official gift of the circle will reinforce this commitment to philanthropic research by supporting the school’s Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy at IUPUI.

To further its mission, the Black Philanthropy Circle is seeking more founding members, who commit to investing at least $15,000 over a three-year period to make the circle’s grants, scholarships and educational initiatives possible. Membership not only supports initiatives for students, faculty and staff; it also allows members to guide the circle’s initiatives and connect them with a passionate network of leaders and alumni. Individuals interested in learning more about giving to diversity initiatives and scholarships, including the Black Philanthropy Circle, should visit

The launch of the Black Philanthropy Circle coincides with Black Philanthropy Month, which continues throughout August. Founded in 2011 by Jackie Copeland-Carson, Black Philanthropy Month has grown into a global, month-long celebration of philanthropic giving in black communities.

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