HOUSTON – Texas Southern University (TSU) has been awarded funding totaling $4.75 million from Houston Endowment for several academic, arts and social justice initiatives. Grants were awarded to TSU’s Center for Justice Research (CJR), the University Museum, Earl Carl Institute (ECI) and establishment of the Robert D. Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice (CECJ). This is the largest total gift from Houston Endowment to Texas Southern in the University’s history.
“Texas Southern is elated to receive major support from Houston Endowment to bolster critical research and justice centers as well as our beloved museum. Each entity provides their own excellent standard in environmental, justice and artistic realms to benefit the Houston community and beyond,” said Interim President Kenneth Huewitt. “TSU is proud to take the lead in pushing for climate change and social justice equity as well as being a champion of African-American art and culture.”
The Center for Justice Research (CJR) received $1.5 million to continue its work in sustaining diversity in the criminal justice system. CJR has become the go-to research entity for evidence-supported policy recommendations and program implementation to create solutions for improving the criminal justice system to aid disenfranchised, marginalized communities in Houston and across the nation.
“The generosity and vision that the Houston Endowment has shown for our work is an honor. We look forward to expanding our data-driven solutions, especially for the most vulnerable communities,” said Dr. Howard Henderson, CJR’s founding director.
The University Museum received $500,000 to expand its arts and cultural initiatives. The Museum – led by Dr. Alvia Wardlaw, TSU art professor and Museum Director – will expand its exploration of works created by renowned artist and educator, the late Dr. John Biggers. TSU students and faculty will continue their research of the historic Hannah Hall art murals and expand collaborative arts programming for families and residents throughout Houston’s Third Ward and neighboring communities.
“We are excited and inspired! This generous and timely grant from Houston Endowment allows the University Museum to develop comprehensive plans for the future of the museum while putting into action so many of the ideas that the staff has developed to better serve our community while bringing the richness, power, and beauty of our culture to a global neighborhood,” said Dr. Wardlaw.
The Earl Carl Institute (ECI) received $1.5 million to address racism and systemic injustices in Houston. ECI is an advocacy think tank at Texas Southern’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law that seeks to eliminate disparities that negatively impact African-American individuals and communities. ECI addresses systemic social issues through legal representation, research, education and advocacy.
“ECI is honored that Houston Endowment recognized our work to move the Houston region toward a more equitable community,” said ECI Executive Director Sarah Guidry. “This funding will enhance many of the Institute’s advocacy initiatives to promote policy changes needed to address race, gender and social injustices and to champion transformation in many of our social systems. It will allow us to seek changes in our schools to ensure academic achievement and erase disproportionate discipline, aid our communities with housing stability and wealth creation, and address inequalities in the criminal justice and juvenile justice systems.”
Houston Endowment’s award of $1.25 million supports establishment of the Robert D. Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice (CECJ) at Texas Southern University. The center, named for Dr. Robert Bullard, TSU’s distinguished professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy, will assist and support underrepresented and marginalized populations to build healthy, sustainable and resilient communities in the era of climate change. Faith-based, social justice and other related institutions will receive guidance through CECJ’s equity and racial justice mission to drive environmental and climate-related education, research, policy and civic engagement.
“We are really excited about the Houston Endowment grant and the creation of a new center to expand our work that intersects environmental, climate, economic, health and racial justice – work that began in Houston more than four decades ago,” said Dr. Bullard, known by many as the “father of environmental justice.”
Melinda Spaulding, vice president for University Advancement, said the university is looking forward to the partnership, pushing forward TSU’s mission to serve and educate others.
“We would like to thank the Houston Endowment for recognizing and supporting the research, programming and outreach at Texas Southern University and its impact on the Houston community and beyond,” Spaulding said.