Just Futures

Advancing a More Democratic Society

What does a more just and equitable future look like, and how do we get there?

Driven by our belief in the leading role of the humanities to address the most difficult challenges of our time, the Mellon Foundation has created Just Futures, grants awarded through a competitive process to multidisciplinary, university-based teams across the US who are committed to racial justice and social equality. In August 2020, the Foundation’s Higher Learning program inaugurated the initiative by inviting scholars from a select group of colleges and universities to propose ambitious humanities-based projects that would address racial inequality in bold and imaginative ways. 

In response, the Foundation received 165 proposals, from which a jury of distinguished scholars selected 16 winning teams. Funded by three-year grants of up to $5 million, the chosen projects are large-scale cooperative endeavors that will extend purposefully beyond academic departments to neighborhoods, cities, and entire geographic regions, transforming discourse into action with social, cultural, and economic impact. By producing new forms of knowledge, including curricula, public forums, museum exhibitions, publications, podcasts, and more, these visionary thinkers and changemakers will help us understand the past, make meaning of the present, and analyze the conditions required for socially just futures. 

The winning projects are listed below. 

Total grants
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