FIU Foundation Brings Together Diverse Voices to Guide New Office of Inclusive Philanthropy
In support of the university-wide effort to strengthen equity and inclusion at Florida International University, the FIU Foundation has designated a team of diverse development officers focused on philanthropic investment in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
On the forefront of inclusive philanthropy, a movement that is gaining momentum in the fundraising field, the FIU Foundation Office of Inclusive Philanthropy (FOIP) brings together development professionals, community and industry partners from diverse backgrounds to inform, implement and evaluate philanthropic strategy and programming that promotes systemic change. This includes scholarships and wrap-around support services for students, increased faculty diversity, strong and inclusive advisory board governance, social equity research, cultural competence trainings, and improved health and education outcomes.
“The future of philanthropy is being driven by strategic emphasis on the core values of diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Howard Lipman, CEO of the FIU Foundation. “The FIU Foundation is dedicated to advancing major initiatives across the university, including the institutional emphasis on these core values. The Foundation Office of Inclusive Philanthropy represents our commitment to supporting efforts in this area and ensuring an FIU education is and always will be accessible.”
The FOIP’s central team consists of development officers, who are members of the Black, Hispanic, Indigenous, LGBTQ+, and religious communities. Philanthropists, community and religious leaders, and industry partners will advise them. The team also works with the colleges and units within the university to identify areas of need and help bridge their individual programs and services into a collective, multidisciplinary effort.
“We’re working toward systemic change at the institutional level, to support areas of need identified by the university in its Equity Action Initiative. FOIP is focused not only on eradicating barriers to success for diverse students and faculty at FIU, but it is committed to seeking out more philanthropists of color who are interested in investing in the university,” said Adjua “Maia” McGill, founding executive director of the FOIP and senior executive director for foundation relations at the FIU Foundation.
In the wake of last summer’s nationwide social justice movement and following the university’s announcement of its Equity Action Initiative, FIU has raised $10 million for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, including:
- $4.6 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a project led by FIU’s Extreme Events Institute and Wolfsonian Public Humanities Lab at FIU’s Extreme Events Institute to address racial disparities in disaster risk and resilience
- $1 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a project at FIU’s Wolfsonian Public Humanities Lab to preserve and digitize the oral histories of underrepresented communities in South Florida
- $400,000 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to establish the Digital Transformation Program at StartUP FIU Food, an online platform to help people of color who are food entrepreneurs expand their businesses to the digital marketplace
- $500,000 from NBCUniversal, which partnered with FIU and other institutions across the United States through the NBCU Academy program, to support journalism scholarships with a DEI preference, faculty support and curriculum enhancement, programming, internship opportunities, and equipment
- $1.7 million from the Truist Foundation for the Truist FIU Financial Wellness Clinic to expand virtual and face-to-face financial literacy education for teachers and students in Miami-Dade County public high schools and in National Academy Foundation college- and career-ready programs nationwide
- $1 million from Bank of America, which partnered with FIU and other institutions across the United States, to provide minority students micro-credential certificates and help them complete the education and training necessary to successfully enter the workforce after graduation
“FIU’s Foundation Office of Inclusive Philanthropy is an example of the university’s commitment to addressing inequities in education and closing achievement gaps, a cornerstone of our partnership,” said Paul J. Luna, president and CEO of Helios Education Foundation, a longtime supporter of FIU’s student success initiatives.
Additionally, the FOIP is collaborating with groups across FIU to host events that raise awareness for diversity-related issues. On May 15-16, 2021, the FOIP will host film screenings and discussions of Dudley Alexis’s film “When Liberty Burns” at the Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater. The film explores the life and legacy of Arthur McDuffie, whose death at the hands of police sparked the 1980 McDuffie riots in Miami. The event is free and open to the public, with pre-registration, and it will also feature a community access event with health and wellness screenings and vaccine education.
The FOIP aims to become a national model for inclusive philanthropy in higher education. It will play a significant role in the final phase of the university’s Next Horizon campaign, which has to date raised $627 million in support of student success and research excellence at FIU.