Students at Cal

A New Push for Campus Equity

Haas, Jr. Fund Joins with UC Berkeley in Broad Effort to Recruit, Support More Diverse Students.

Major grant supports scholarships for African American students, new outreach and recruitment focused on underrepresented students, and investments in a more welcoming campus climate.

Berkeley — The University of California, Berkeley is announcing today (Sept. 30, 2019) a significant step toward expanding diversity and access across the campus, thanks to a $10 million gift from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. Knowing that diversity, equity and inclusion are key to the university’s standing as a premier public institution, this investment supports a wide range of programs to transform the student population and create a more welcoming and inclusive campus.

A cornerstone of the gift is $2 million for scholarships designed to bolster the university’s African American student community and their overall campus experience. It is also a challenge contribution, which calls on additional donors to step forward so that the gift is fully leveraged at $4 million.

The African American Initiative Scholarship is a partnership of the San Francisco Foundation, the Cal Alumni Association, and the Haas, Jr. Fund. The scholarships are a valuable tool to help attract African American students who have been admitted to Berkeley but would otherwise choose to go elsewhere.

The gift will also support a variety of campus programs aimed at diversifying the student body and improving the experience of historically underrepresented students and includes several opportunities for donor contributions to be matched. In addition, it will boost efforts to:

  • Maximize outreach to and recruitment of low-income, underrepresented minority students in the Bay Area and the rest of the state who are first in their families to go to college.
  • Provide a welcoming, inclusive, and supportive experience for these students.

Among the innovative programs to be supported by the investment is a series of bridging experiments led by UC Berkeley Professor of Law and Professor of African American Studies and Ethnic Studies john powell. These are designed to create life-changing experiences for students and expand practices that promote belonging, foster a more cohesive campus environment and prepare students for the 21st century.  

“We are grateful to the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund for this remarkable gift, and our longstanding partnership, which will help us make important strides toward becoming a truly inclusive and welcoming campus for African American, Latinx, and Native American students,” said Chancellor Carol Christ. “These efforts embrace the California spirit and its diversity, befitting our tradition as an engine of social mobility.” 

Chancellor Carol Christ last year announced the Undergraduate Student Diversity Project. The initiative intends to help students learn to thrive in a multicultural world and ensure that the university meets its responsibilities as a leading public university in an increasingly diverse state.

The gift from the Haas, Jr. Fund builds on its legacy of support for the university as a national leader in research, teaching and public service related to equity and inclusion. With this investment, giving by the Haas, Jr. Fund to UC Berkeley totals $72.5 million. In 2010, the foundation made a key $16 million gift to help launch a sweeping array of research projects, faculty chairs, scholarships, and courses that reached every corner of the campus. 

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For donors interested in giving to the African American Initiative Scholarship, please contact Brooke Hendrickson at +1 (510) 664-5191.