2021-2022 Grant Recipients

In this first year of the program, the Racial Justice Grant Program has committed more than $55,000 to support new projects that will foster community ties and serve under-resourced neighborhoods.

Within the first iteration of the grant program, we received nearly 40 applications from across the university for the internal grant program, which funds interdisciplinary teams to drive tangible initiatives that fight racism. Teams led by both undergraduate and graduate students will collaborate with faculty and staff to make a difference on and off campus.

Working with and leveraging the expertise and assets of our campus partners and community-based organizations, these teams will help address complex issues including: disparities in health and education; strengthening the pipeline of qualified candidates aspiring to higher education, STEM careers, and the arts; and addressing the persistent disparities and vulnerabilities that communities of color face with respect to the impacts of climate change. The inaugural thirteen grantees are as follows:

  • Puzzle Pieces Mentoring for Diversity: A path forward to help future PTs find the right fit. Working with United Black Students to help address the gap between patients and providers, the overarching purpose of this program is to increase the visibility of the physical therapy profession for Black high school and undergraduate students, and to provide mentorship to interested students to improve their chances for successful admission into and completion of PT school.

  • Public Health Survey on the Impacts of Intra-Urban Forced Displacement due to Climate Gentrification in Miami. Working with People's Economic and Environmental Resiliency Group, Inc., this project will document the environmental and public health impacts connected to the forced displacement of low-wealth and Black and brown communities in Miami, thus arming communities with a strong evidence base to support the development of effective interventions.

  • I am Enough Project. Working with Urgent, Inc., the CRECER team will pursue a new venture, using a comic book format to help middle school-age girls learn about structural racism, internalize strong ethnic-racial identity development, develop adaptive coping skills, and foster relationship management.

  • STEAM-D. Working with the National Society of Black Engineers, this project will help Black students in high school gain a better understanding of skills necessary to go into a variety of S.T.E.A.M. disciplines, providing the necessary confidence, skillset, and networking abilities through mentorship, tailored skill resources, and workshops.

  • Frost Black American Music Exchange. Working with the Melton Mustafa Jazz Festival, this project aims to realize an exchange of both musical and cultural information between the Frost School of Music’s Studio Music and Jazz Department and jazz musicians from South Florida’s Black community, providing opportunities for a residency and concert by community leaders at the Frost School, followed by Frost student involvement at the festival.

  • Defeat the Heat: Mapping extreme heat exposure in Miami’s Black neighborhoods. Working with Catalyst Miami, this project will recruit “citizen scientists,” or residents who will passively use sensors to monitor temperature and humidity inside their homes and in key public spaces, allowing us to explore what heat exposure looks like in Miami’s Black neighborhoods and providing insight into best options for key adaptation strategies such as weatherization, energy assistance, urban greening, and health interventions to make strides in racial justice as well as climate justice.

  • The Role of CBOs in Mitigating COVID-19 Educational Disparities During Remote Learning for Black Middle School Students. In collaboration with Breakthrough Miami, a community-based organization that serves middle and high school students in Miami Dade County, the research team will engage with economically disadvantaged gifted Black middle school students to investigate and advance the role of community-based organizations in the mitigation of COVID-19-related educational disparities.

  • Black American Voices in Music: Challenging Racial Bias at the Frost School of Music. Working with the Department of Music Education, this project will include two main components that will run in parallel to one another: a qualitative research study to assess beliefs and attitudes about racial bias and inequalities at the Frost School, and a series of eight webinars on the theme of racial bias and equity in music.

  • Black Male Student Athlete Engagement & Empowerment. Working with the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, this program aims to provide additional support and encouragement to Black male student athletes in areas such as financial literacy, interpersonal communication, and life skills, including entrepreneurship, dreaming beyond sport, professional emails, letter writing, resume development, money management, social media networking and pre/post-game press conference interviews.

  • EmpowerU: A Pipeline Towards Greater Representation in STEM. UM’s Shark Research and Conservation Program is partnering with Breakthrough Miami to launch EmpowerU, a new program designed to provide experiential learning opportunities in marine science and research to students of color in South Florida.

  • Addressing Racial Injustice in STEM towards Coastal Resilience. Working with Booker T. Washington High School, the objective of the proposed program is to increase Black representation in STEM fields by providing opportunities for motivated black high school students to participate in research and mitigation projects on coastal resilience.

  • Student Career Day. The project is an event for Black foster care youth that are part of the First Star Academy at the University of Miami, providing a cohort of 50 students from the academy with a five-hour event including a college application workshop, Black student life exploration presented by student organization leaders, and a career fair with representation in their specific desired fields of study and professions.

  • African American Coalition of Excellence. Working with the Woodrow Wilson Marshall Association, this initiative will foster mentorship and an overall sense of community between minority faculty, staff, and students at the university, including skill-building workshops, shadowing opportunities, roundtable discussions, and one-on-one interactions that will positively impact their level of readiness in their field so that they enter the work-force with the confidence and skills needed to succeed.

We look forward to learning more about and supporting the awardees and their projects as we work together to advance racial equity. If interested in supporting, volunteering, or learning more about these projects reach out to racialjusticegrants@miami.edu.