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The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints Partners With The NAACP To Fund Scholarships For Black Students

A photo of Russell M. Nelson at a podium.
Tess Roundy
LDS Church President Russell M. Nelson urged people to “build bridges of cooperation instead of walls of segregation” during his announcement about the Church’s commitment to funding scholarships for Black students.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Monday it will be funding programs to help Black communities.

It’s a continuation of an ongoing partnership with the NAACP. The news comes just days before Juneteenth, the holiday that commemorates when the last enslaved people were freed in 1865.

Church President Russell M. Nelson said while they have a different mission from the civil rights organization, the two groups have something in common.

“They’re believers,” Nelson said. “What do we do because of those beliefs? We call for greater civility and kindness, and we work together to bless the lives of God's children.”

Nelson said they will put forth $1 million a year for the next three years for scholarships for Black students through the United Negro College Fund.

Additionally, the Church committed $250,000 to create the Amos C. Brown fellowship for students to go to Ghana to learn about Black history. Brown currently serves on the NAACP’s national board of directors.

Nelson said the Church will also donate $6 million over three years to support humanitarian efforts for “suffering souls in underprivileged areas” throughout the country.

Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP, said the collaboration between his organization and the Church is especially important “in this environment where people seek to create otherness and tribalism.”

“We can stand here today as a beacon of light to communities, where people can look and say, ‘I see Christ in them,’” Johnson said. “ [It’s] an opportunity to really appreciate who we are as God’s people.”

Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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