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Whitman College, in collaboration with the University of Oregon and the University of Idaho, was awarded a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as part of the organization’s Just Futures Initiative, which aims to create programs that expand public understanding of racism in United States history and advance more just and equitable futures.

With the $4.52 million grant, the three schools will establish the Pacific Northwest Just Futures Institute, intended to provide a regional platform for initiatives that help rectify “the devastating consequences of intersectional racism and climate change” through collaborative research, community engagement activities, the creation of digital archives, applied courses, and incentives to attract and retain underrepresented students, faculty and staff. 

The college also received a Mellon Grant in 2020 as part of the Northwest Five Consortium (NW5C), a group of five liberal arts colleges in the Pacific Northwest that are working together to champion opportunities for community-engaged teaching and learning. The $900,000 grant was awarded to support an NW5C initiative titled “Revitalizing the Humanities in the Pacific Northwest through Community Engagement.” During the first phase of the four-year project, which launched this spring, faculty from across the institutions will collaborate on faculty development webinars that explore approaches to campus and community engagement, make connections across campuses, and inspire ideas for collaborative projects. The first three workshops will focus on incarcerated learning, racial justice, and indigenous peoples and colonialism in the Northwest.