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Packard Foundation joins philanthropy leaders to respond to the U.S. Supreme Court decision on affirmative action

We are deeply disappointed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina, which hinders colleges and universities from fully addressing systemic racial inequities. This ruling undermines decades of progress and reinforces barriers to a society in which everyone has the opportunity to improve their lives, communities, health, and education.

Today we are signing the open letter below, joining our philanthropic peers in condemning this ruling.

Now and in the future, the Packard Foundation remains committed to racial justice in the U.S. We know that sustained progress is not possible if it is not inclusive. Across all levels of our society, including higher education, diversity and meaningful inclusion – especially for those who have long been denied power, voice, and opportunity – are fundamental to our aspiration for a pro-equity, multi-racial democracy.

The following is a statement by funders and philanthropic organizations in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings in Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina and Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College. A full list of signatories follows.

The Supreme Court’s decision impedes colleges and universities from selecting their own student bodies and fully addressing systemic racial inequalities that persist. The ruling threatens to return this nation to a time when education and opportunity were reserved for a privileged class. It endangers sixty years of multiracial movements to challenge our nation to live up to the ideals enshrined in our founding documents. The decision erects new barriers to building a society in which everyone has the opportunity to improve their lives, communities, health, and education.

Today’s ruling will make the vital work of building inclusive college campuses much harder. Experience has shown that substituting socioeconomic status as a proxy for race will not achieve the diversity that strengthens the fabric of all universities. Educators and communities dedicated to teaching and mentoring young people and adults from every imaginable background understand how all students—not just students of color—benefit from diverse racial and socioeconomic learning environments. Decades of research show that students educated with people from different backgrounds and experiences improve their analytical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration. These skills are essential to building our future workforce, our military, and a healthy democracy. In the realm of health, research shows that racially and ethnically representative medical schools produce better-trained physicians and care teams that reflect the communities they serve.

Universities and colleges and those organizations supporting them deserve the resources and support to continue their critical mission. They need our resolve, too. Philanthropies are vital partners in our nation’s progress. We will remain steadfast in our collective mission to create a more equitable nation within the bounds of the law. To forge ahead, we must continue to advocate for the human dignity of all people—regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or country of origin—with renewed vigor and commitment.

Our nation’s future prosperity, vitality, and unity depend upon America becoming a true multiracial democracy—an aspiration that requires racial equity and diversity in higher education. Despite today’s ruling, our foundations will not waver in our commitment to those making the nation’s high ideals a reality for all communities and all people.   

Signatories of this statement:


Blue Shield of California Foundation

California Health Care Foundation

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

Council on Foundations

David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Democracy Fund

ECMC Foundation

Ford Foundation

Foundation for Health Equity

Funders Concerned About AIDS

Grantmakers for Education

Grantmakers In Health

Grantmakers in the Arts

Health Forward Foundation

Healthy Communities Foundation

Heising-Simons Foundation

Hispanics in Philanthropy

Hogg Foundation for Mental Health

Horizon Foundation

Humanity United

Imaginable Futures

Independent Sector

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation

Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust

Lumina Foundation

McKnight Foundation

Mellon Foundation

Mertz Gilmore Foundation

MetroWest Health Foundation

Meyer Memorial Trust

Omidyar Network

Point32Health Foundation

Raikes Foundation

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Ruth Mott Foundation

Rx Foundation

Stuart Foundation

Stupski Foundation

Surdna Foundation

The California Endowment

The California Wellness Foundation

The Communications Network

The Denver Foundation

The Joyce Foundation

The Open Society Foundations

The Rockefeller Foundation

The Skillman Foundation

The Spencer Foundation

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Wail of a Tale Productions

Wellspring Philanthropic Fund

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