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Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation Announces Educational Advancement Program

Graduates and announcement

The Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation today announced the creation of an educational advancement program in partnership with Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) to provide educational advancement opportunities to Descendants of Jesuit and Catholic slaveholding in the United States. The initiative is part of the Foundation’s core programming plans, which include supporting the educational aspirations of Descendants from early childhood education through post-secondary education; investing in truth, racial healing, and reconciliation in communities and organizations throughout America; and supporting elderly and infirm Descendants.

“Supporting the educational aspirations of the Descendants of Jesuit and Catholic slaveholding is a cornerstone of our mission and a key step toward the realization of our vision of a world in which every human is valued for their inherent worth,” said Joseph M. Stewart, President, CEO and Co-Founder of the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation. “Effective education is our greatest opportunity to uplift the quality of life from one generation of Descendants to all succeeding generations, and this program will create life-changing opportunities for many.”

The Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation was born out of the 2016 discovery that in 1838, the Society of Jesus sold more than 272 enslaved men, women and children from their plantations in Maryland to plantation owners in Louisiana in order to save Georgetown College from financial ruin. The Foundation is a partnership between the Descendants of the enslaved and the Society of Jesus and seeks a joint moral path rather than a legal path to truth, racial healing and transformation.

Thurgood Marshall College Fund will administer the program funded by the Foundation as a part of an initial 5-year scholarship program. Year one of the scholarship program will provide $400,000 for annual need-based scholarships of up to $10,000 to Descendants of Jesuit and Catholic slaveholding for attendance at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) or other post-secondary institutions.

“TMCF is on an ambitious mission to advance equity and opportunity through scholarships and professional development programs,” said TMCF President & CEO, Dr. Harry L. Williams. “We are proud to partner with the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation on this consequential initiative to advance the educational aspirations of the Descendants of Jesuit and Catholic slaveholding. It is an unprecedented but essential step forward on our nation’s path to racial healing and its ongoing efforts to finally honor the fundamental principles enshrined in our Constitution.” 

The Foundation’s educational advancement program will be open to applications beginning this Fall, to be applied to college attendance in 2024. More information will be available in the coming months.