An emergency grant to the Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative at Vanderbilt Divinity School—which brings together scholars, students, activists, and public servants to work to eradicate racism—will give nonprofit organizations in the Nashville area significant resources to provide relief to people “who were already struggling against the odds and now have been hit hard by both the tornado and the pandemic.”
The divinity school will award grants to local partners to support individuals struggling with unemployment, housing, and essential needs, and to provide funds for houses of worship or businesses destroyed by a tornado in early March.
A rapid response grant of $150,000 by the Henry Luce Foundation will continue the intensive humanitarian efforts of Vanderbilt Divinity School after tornadoes wreaked havoc across Tennessee in early March, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am grateful to the Henry Luce Foundation for this timely and important grant, which will allow the Divinity School to continue their excellence in academic inquiry, collaboration and discovery while also fulfilling our university’s mission to impact society for the better,” said Interim Chancellor and Provost Susan Wente. “Especially during this moment of economic hardship, our ability to help our broader community has never been more evident or more critical.”
The gift will allow the Divinity School to “pair generosity with strategic intervention to help provide resources for folks who were already struggling against the odds and now have been hit hard by both the tornado and the pandemic,” said Emilie M. Townes, dean of the Divinity School and director of the Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative. She is also the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society. “This is what partnership looks like.”