$10 Million from Georgetown University and $17 Million from the Jesuits
September 13, 2023 — The Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation today announced $27 million in contributions to support the Foundation’s mission, which is to uplift future generations of Descendants of Jesuit enslavement while helping to create a world in which the false ideology of a human hierarchy value based on race no longer exists. The contributions include $10 million from Georgetown University, as well as $17 million from the Jesuits. This $17 million contribution from the Jesuits (see statement below)—which includes the estimated value of plantation land where many Descendants’ ancestors were enslaved, along with an additional $10 million—is in addition to the $15 million the Jesuits contributed when the Foundation was created. Georgetown previously provided a $1 million implementation grant to the Foundation.
The contributions announced today will add to the capitalization of the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Trust, bringing the Trust total to $42 million. Earnings from the Trust will support programming in the Foundation’s three core focus areas: supporting the educational aspirations of Descendants from early childhood education through post-secondary education; investing in truth, racial healing and reconciliation in communities and organizations throughout America; and supporting elderly and infirm Descendants.
“These contributions from Georgetown University and the Jesuits are a clear indication of the role Jesuits and other institutions of higher education can play in supporting our mission to heal the wounds of racism in the United States, as well as a call to action for all of the Catholic Church to take meaningful steps to address the harm done through centuries of slaveholding,” said Monique Trusclair Maddox, a fourth- and fifth- generation Descendant as well as CEO of the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation and Chair of the Board of Directors.
“When Descendants and Jesuits created our partnership, we shared the belief that a moral approach to truth, healing and reconciliation offers the greatest opportunity to uplift future generations of Descendants—dismantling the remnants of slavery while healing this nation of hate and racism,” said Joe Stewart, a fifth-generation Descendant as well as Chair Emeritus and Co-Founder of the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation. “Continuing commitments such as these get us closer to reconciling this nation’s original sin and to healing the disease of racism in our nation.”
In July, the Foundation announced its first program, an educational advancement program in partnership with Thurgood Marshall College Fund to provide educational advancement opportunities to Descendants of Jesuit and Catholic slaveholding in the United States.
“The work of reconciliation—grounded in a deep reckoning with the pain and injustice of slavery and its legacies—is an expression of hope. The Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation has put forth an extraordinary vision to uplift Descendant communities, support the educational aspirations of Descendants, and promote racial healing in our nation,” said Georgetown President John J. DeGioia. “It is an honor for our University to have the opportunity to contribute to their efforts. The difficult truths of our past guide us in the urgent work of seeking and supporting reconciliation in our present and future.”
“As a Catholic community, it is imperative that we don’t turn away from our sinful history of slaveholding and instead look inward at how we can right past wrongs with justice, healing and compassion,” said Fr. Tim Kesicki, SJ, Chair of the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Trust. “I am thrilled to see other Catholic and Jesuit institutions step up by investing in the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation’s mission to foster racial healing and uplift current and future Descendants.”
Jesuits USA East Commits an Additional $10 Million Over Five Years to the Descendants Truth and Reconciliation Foundation
September 13, 2023 – The USA East Province of the Society of Jesus has announced a matching $2 million per year contribution over the next five years with Georgetown University to benefit the Descendants Truth and Reconciliation Foundation. The Trust of the Foundation was created to support the educational aspirations of the Descendants who were enslaved by the Jesuits and Georgetown University. The Trust is also an investment to promote truth, racial healing and reconciliation in communities and organizations throughout America and to support elderly and infirm Descendants.
This $10 million commitment over 5 years that matches Georgetown University is in addition to the $3 million the USA East Province contributed when the Trust was created in 2021. Another $7 million was contributed earlier this year based on the value of province land near Washington, DC, where some of the Descendants’ ancestors were enslaved. The province is working closely with the Archdiocese of Washington, the Maryland Catholic Conference, and the Descendants in Bowie, MD, to make sure this land remains sacred. These contributions, in partnership with the commitment of Georgetown University and the other Jesuit provinces of the United States, brings the current contribution to the Descendants Trust to $42 million.
Jesuits USA East remains deeply devoted to our partnership with the Descendant community and to working together for racial reconciliation and healing in this country. We are dedicated to the long-term vision of healing the scars of slavery by pursuing hope and advancing our tireless goal for social justice.
Source: Jesuits USA East Province