Fellowship Program to Combat Anti-Black Racism

Kavitha Mediratta
Kavitha Mediratta (Atlantic Philanthropies)

The Atlantic Philanthropies and Columbia University recently announced the creation of the Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity, a ten-year, $60 million fellowship program that will empower activists, writers, artists, and others fighting anti-Black racism in the United States or South Africa. The program, which will be based at Columbia, will support up to thirty-five people in these countries each year.

The program is the latest in an interconnected set of fellowship programs from Atlantic Philanthropies that are designed to “advance fairer, healthier, more inclusive societies.”

The Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity will be directed by Kavitha Mediratta, who will step down as chief strategy adviser at Atlantic Philanthropies this winter to assume her new role. Alondra Nelson, Columbia’s dean of social science and a sociology professor, will serve as the lead faculty partner on the program.

The program was designed in collaboration with the leadership of Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD), a nonprofit based in Washington, DC; the Center for Community Change, also in Washington, DC; the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, based in New York City; the Nelson Mandela Foundation, based in South Africa; and the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley.

The new program will also support undergraduate fellows at Columbia and UC Berkeley; an annual symposium of fellows and faculty at Columbia; and a multidisciplinary research effort at UC Berkeley.

The first cohort of Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity will be announced in 2017.