For Immediate Release

David Tritelli
Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs
202-888-0811 (office)

AAC&U Receives $520,000 Grant from Newman’s Own Foundation to Support Creation of Centers for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation at Higher Education Institutions

Jan 24, 2017

Washington, DC—The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced today that it has received a $520,000 grant from Newman’s Own Foundation, the independent foundation created by the late actor and philanthropist, Paul Newman, for a three-year initiative supporting the collaboration with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to create Centers for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) at higher education institutions across the country.

The grant will support a multi-year initiative to implement ten TRHT Centers, which will be designed to engage and empower campus and community stakeholders to break down racial hierarchies and create a positive narrative about race in the community. As part of this initiative, AAC&U will create a TRHT Institute, which will assist campuses in the development of transformative action plans to advance racial healing. The goal of the Centers, as designed through the Institute, will be to empower individuals to live and prosper in a civil and humane society that promotes full inclusion for everyone.

“Events of the past couple of years have made it abundantly clear that our shared ideal of equality, respect, and opportunity for all people is not shared in practice with many in our country. While political and governmental institutions have crucial roles to play in addressing this problem, a true and lasting resolution will only happen by Americans, of all backgrounds, coming together in honest, bold, and sustained civil dialogue,” said Bob Forrester, President and CEO of Newman's Own Foundation. "By virtue of their mission to educate and open minds, commitment to open questioning and discourse, and connection to community, our nation’s colleges and universities are uniquely positioned to play a special role in this dialogue. We feel privileged to have been invited by the Association of American Colleges and Universities to partner with them in the Centers for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation initiative."

AAC&U will issue a specific call for proposals for member institutions to submit applications to serve as hosts for the TRHT Centers and participate in the TRHT Institute. Funding from Newman’s Own Foundation will support the TRHT Institute, the implementation of the Centers, technology infrastructure to support the Centers, and the development of resources that will help guide partners in subsequent phases of the TRHT enterprise.

“We are excited about the opportunity to engage with our members in promoting racial and social justice,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella. “Colleges and universities, working alongside community partners, have a critical role to play in transforming the racial narrative and offer unique venues for examining and confronting the past, while healing the wounds of racism’s legacies. We are grateful to Newman’s Own Foundation for their support of our efforts to promote racial healing, embrace our common humanity, and erase structural barriers to equal treatment and opportunity.”

Through the creation of the TRHT Institute and establishment of the TRHT Centers, AAC&U seeks to help educate, prepare, and inspire the next generation of leaders to advance justice and build inclusive communities. AAC&U is a partner in the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) enterprise, launched in January 2016, and reflects the association’s ongoing mission-level commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence.

“The Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation enterprise focuses on dismantling the hierarchy of human value that for too long has divided our country, said AAC&U Vice President Tia Brown McNair. “There is no greater time than now to engage in an initiative that focuses on truth and healing.”

To learn about AAC&U’s initiatives and resources related to diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence, see:

To learn more about TRHT, see:

Newman’s Own Foundation turns all net profits and royalties from the sale of Newman’s Own products into charitable donations. To date, Paul Newman and Newman’s Own Foundation have given over $475 million to thousands of charities around the world.

About AAC&U

AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises nearly 1,400 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, and faculty members who are engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Its mission is to reinforce the collective commitment to liberal education and inclusive excellence at both the national and local levels, and to help individual institutions keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.