Helping current students is a key priority for the Cornell Black Alumni Association (CBAA), whose members provide support for Black alumni and students through scholarships, networking opportunities, social programming and other resources.
CBAA President John W. Rawlins III ’06 says alumni involved with the organization continue to step up in new ways to do what they can to support students, even during a difficult year.
“Our alumni have a wealth of experience, expertise and knowledge that we can pull from,” he said, “and we want to make sure we advocate for the Black student experience.”
In June, Cornell Students for Black Lives (C4BL), a coalition of more than 185 student organizations, came together with CBAA to raise more than $100,000 in support of racial justice. Funds from the campaign were recently distributed to groups both locally and nationally.
The Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC), the Multicultural Resource Center, the Southside Community Center of Ithaca, and the Audre Lorde Project of Brooklyn each received $25,000; the NAACP Legal Defense Fund received $15,000. The remaining funds are to be distributed to Cornell-specific initiatives.
“GIAC and Southside have really struggled during the pandemic,” said Matt Carcella, director of Diversity Alumni Programs. “This could be important budget relief for them right now, to make sure they stay open.”
Although the students originally planned to donate funds raised in the June campaign to mostly advocacy-focused organizations, C4BL and CBAA refined the list of beneficiaries in order to best match the impact goals of donors as the campaign grew.
A percentage of donations received will be used to “finance education and advocacy for Black liberation at Cornell, guided by C4BL and CBAA,” according to the campaign’s GoFundMe page.