Image 01 Image 03

Equal Protection Project: Rhode Island Foundation Must End Racially Discriminatory Scholarships and Grants

Equal Protection Project: Rhode Island Foundation Must End Racially Discriminatory Scholarships and Grants

“You cannot have a grant program that says whites cannot apply”

The Equal Protection Project delivered a letter this morning to the Rhode Island Foundation (RIF), the largest charity in the state, calling on RIF to end its race-based scholarship and grant programming in light of the 2023 Supreme Court decision in Students for Fair Admissions and the 11th Circuit ruling recently in the Fearless Fund case.

You can read the full letter at the bottom of this post, here is an excerpt. After detailing numerous discriminatory programs, we wrote (foonotes omitted):

As reflected in the non-exhaustive list above, race-based scholarships and grant-making are widespread at RIF. It appears that all applications are processed, reviewed, and approved by RIF through a central RIF application portal.

In Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard University, 600 U.S. 181 (2023)(“SFFA”), the United States Supreme Court held that race-conscious admissions violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment (noting the same standard applied under the Civil Rights Act of 1964). The implications of the SFFA ruling go beyond university admissions.

In light of SFFA, another substantial Rhode Island charity with extensive race-based grantmaking, the Papitto Opportunity Connection (POC), paused its race-based grant-making, as reported in The Providence Journal. ….

POC further stated in October 2023 that it would continue to make grants that support diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, but “that do not condition eligibility on race, do not make decisions based on race, and do not exclude individuals based on their race.” ….

POC informed us last week that it “continue[s] to follow this process.”

RIF, by contrast, declined to take a position similar to POC to halt race-based grant making, according to the The Providence Journal article cited above. To the contrary, as the non-exhaustive list above reflects, RIF appears to have forged ahead with race-based scholarships and grants notwithstanding the ruling in SFFA.

The caution of POC and those quoted above was well-founded, as the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit recently issued a preliminary injunction against a grant program limited to black women that mirrors the types of race-based discrimination present in the RIF scholarships and grants listed above. We call this case to your attention because it directly implicates RIF’s business practices and the potential legal liability of RIF and its donors….

In light of SFFA and Fearless Fund, it’s time for RIF to eliminate racial discrimination in its scholarships and grants.

The Equal Protection Project hereby demands that the Rhode Island Foundation cease and desist from awarding scholarships or making grants that condition eligibility on race, from making decisions based on race, and from excluding individuals or organizations based on race.

Please confirm to us within one week from the date of this letter whether RIF will end its race-based scholarship and grant practices, and embrace the non-discrimination required by law.

I had a chance to discuss the Fearless Fund case and our letter to RIF on ‘The Bottom Line’ show on Fox Business with Dagen McDowell and Sean Duffy:

[if video does not load, click here]

Transcript (auto-generated, may contain transcription errors)

McDowell (00:04): DEI say goodbye? A federal court of appeals ruling in favor of a conservative group that argued a grant program strictly for black female business owners is discriminatory.

Duffy (00:18): Today that court decision is being used as the basis for the Equal Protection Project to issue a cease and desist against non-profit The Rhode Island Foundation for awarding race-based scholarships and grants, like one of their student loan forgiveness programs that only forgives the loans of non-white teachers.

McDowell (00:36): Joining us now, the founder of the Equal Protection Project, William Jacobson. William, good to see you. This decision by this US Court of Appeals against this grant program for black female entrepreneurs, it did not involve government money and just private money. Because that seems, you know, even to Sean and I, really kind of pushing the envelope here.

WAJ (01:08): Well, it’s a historic decision and it’s going to shake up the half a trillion dollar a year philanthropy industry. And it was brought under the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 USC section 1981, which says that you cannot discriminate, private entities cannot discriminate in contracting. It was a post-Civil War statute. Post Civil War Civil Rights Act meant to equalize contracting rights. And it has been held by the US Supreme Court to protect not only freed black slaves, and not only blacks, but also whites.

So, while it may be shocking to people, it’s really kind of just applying the law to this. It will shake things up because there are many entities around this country that we see at the Equal Protection Project, such as the Rhode Island Foundation in Providence, where I’m located now, which have numerous scholarships and grant programs, which are private money by private foundations, which limit themselves to certain applicants. Sometimes it’s black applicants, sometimes they use the term ‘people of color.’

There is widespread and rampant private grant discrimination going on in this country. And the Fearless Fund case, I think is going to shake things up because it’s really just applying the law and we want the Rhode Island Foundation to stop doing what they’re doing, and have race neutral grant funding and race neutral scholarships.

Duffy (02:38): So how does it shake it up? Is that what, is that what the future is? Listen, we’re not gonna use race as a criteria for getting grant dollars or scholarship money.

WAJ (02:51): That’s right. There’s nothing to prevent a philanthropy from trying to improve minority communities, from trying to do what is loosely called diversity, equity and inclusion. But they can’t do it on a racially discriminatory basis.

You cannot have a grant program that says whites cannot apply. And that’s what a lot of these foundations are doing.

At the Equal Protection Project we’ve brought dozens of claims against universities and other educational institutions that do this. But what is so important here, as you pointed out, is this is all private money. You cannot do this.

And I think the philanthropy industry needs to wake up because this could lead to lawsuits not just against the philanthropies, but against donors who insist on these conditions. There are a lot of these grant programs that are created by donors, and the donors insist on these racially discriminatory terms and they are now at risk.

McDowell (03:47): William, really quickly, but in this case that we’re talking about this Court of Appeals decision against the Fearless Fund. The Fearless Fund argued that these were charitable donations and not contracts. And so does this decision then go to an even higher court? Does it go to SCOTUS?

WAJ (04:09): Well, I hope the Supreme Court takes it, frankly, because I think we need to resolve this nationally once and for all.

But the Court of Appeals was very careful in saying this grant making process. where you have to apply, there are rules, you agree to abide by those rules, they issue the equivalent of a contract that you have to sign for the grant, that this is contracting, this is not mere donation. Nothing in this opinion, prevents you from donating to whoever you want. But if you’re going run a contractual grant program, you have to do it in the law.



Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


And they’re going to keep doing it, because the only ‘penalty’ is being told to stop doing it.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Olinser. | June 11, 2024 at 1:30 am

    Until some white kid is denied a scholarship or grant. Then an actual injured party exists who can sue them into oblivion, especially if they’ve already acknowledged (by standing down to settle the EPP’s complaint) that what they were doing was illegal.

      UnCivilServant in reply to DaveGinOly. | June 11, 2024 at 5:41 am

      Someone would have to finance that lawsuit, and most who need those grants can’t afford to do it themselves.

    Yup. I’ve been saying it for years: until those commiting these civil right violations can no longer hide behind limited liabilty, or billion dollar endowments which shield these individuals from being held personally liable, and personally punished (criminal or civil) they will simply keep pushing their agendas because…. why not?

Nixon’s War on Blacks has been going on for 50+ years. We now know there is absolutely no justification. The Government has been lying for 100+ years. Drugs can’t cause addiction.

American Medical Schools teach addiction is a symptom of PTSD.
Dr. Lonny Shavelson in his book “Heroin” said that 70% of female heroin addicts had been sexually abused in childhood.

Drugs fill receptors. What empties receptors (injury, PTSD) causes a desire for drugs. Drugs CAN’T cause addiction. Pass it on.

destroycommunism | June 11, 2024 at 11:19 am

why should/ would they stop??

they have the complete backing of the usa scotus congress and potus fully having codified Affirmative Action DEI quotas racist highways etc

sure challenge every action by sickening leftists

but until the gop digs down and reverses all those

nice sounding but morally corrupt laws that really came on strong in the 1960s-70s

the left has the moral high ground or at the least the lawful high ground

command_liner | June 11, 2024 at 1:18 pm

How far we have come since JFK’s simple idea to “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color or national origin.”.

The Grigg’s decision also (upon which the whole of the “disparate impact crap pile” is built) also says the same thing. I do not have the quote handy, but it tells us not to discriminate against whites.

As the former head of All Races United, a collegiate organization dedicated to the simple idea that is its name, I applaud the work you are doing. Thanks.