Introducing The Melvin L. Oliver Racial Justice Initiative Fund

May 3, 2022

Dear Pitzer Community,

We are pleased to announce the launch of a special fundraising campaign to celebrate President Melvin L. Oliver and his extraordinary 45-year career as a scholar of racial inequity and a leader in higher education and philanthropy. 

We will rename Pitzer College’s Racial Justice Initiative (RJI) in President Oliver’s honor, establishing The Melvin L. Oliver Racial Justice Initiative and a new endowed fund that will support the College’s efforts to promote analysis and activism around racial justice issues. President Oliver established RJI in 2020, and he has called the initiative “a culmination of my life’s work and an essential component of Pitzer’s social justice mission.”

The College’s Board of Trustees is inviting all community members to contribute to The Melvin L. Oliver Racial Justice Initiative Fund. The goal is to raise a minimum of $200,000 by June 30, 2022—President Oliver’s last day in office at Pitzer. 

The endowed fund will build on Pitzer College’s long-standing commitment to social justice as well as its history of community engagement and hands-on learning and action. Based on the initiative’s three pillars, funding will be directed to curricular transformation, co-curricular transformation, and structural transformation. The new fund will help reimagine courses and create new ones; invest in faculty and student research projects and creative collaborations; and support in-depth research, public talks, and workshops—and much more.

In President Oliver’s own words, RJI “started in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and has been an important addition to campus dialogue and action around structural racism and its myriad forms.” The Melvin L. Oliver Racial Justice Initiative endowed fund will create an ongoing revenue stream for generations to come. It is a gift in perpetuity that will honor President Oliver and his lifelong efforts to create a more just and equitable world.  

To support The Melvin L. Oliver Racial Justice Initiative Fund, please visit Pitzer’s donation page. You can also mail a check to the Office of College Advancement and Communications, Box A-102, 1050 North Mills Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711, and write “Melvin L. Oliver Racial Justice Initiative Fund” in the memo line.

Individual gifts made in support of The Melvin L. Oliver Racial Justice Initiative Fund will be pooled with the intention of establishing an endowed fund to support racial justice initiatives at Pitzer College in perpetuity. If the minimum endowment level is not reached, funds will be pooled to establish a current-use fund in support of Pitzer’s racial justice initiatives.

Yours sincerely,

Donald P. Gould 

Chair, Pitzer College Board of Trustees

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