In 2018, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the NAACP met together to discuss ways to collaborate for the betterment of God’s children.
In June they announced three initiatives including the Church’s commitment to fund a $1 million scholarship per year for three years to be overseen by the United Negro College Fund, $250,000 for fellowship grants to Ghana to allow students from the USA to “learn more about their heritage” and $2 million per year for the next three years from the Church to help those in need in underprivileged areas of the United States, according to Church officials.
The announcement was made from the Church Administration Building on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah with the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints standing shoulder to shoulder with key leaders from the NAACP and UNCF. Attendees included NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson; Eris Sims, Chief of Staff; Wilbur Colom, Special Counsel; Yumeka Rushing, Chief Strategy Officer; and Reverend Dr. Amos C. Brown of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco and President of NAACP Branch in San Francisco.
UNCF’s President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax, Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer Maurice E. Jenkins Jr., and Regional Development Director of San Francisco Monica Sudduth were also in attendance.
Church Prophet and President Russell M. Nelson said, “We are honored to join with our dear friends from the NAACP and the UNCF to announce these goals and our shared vision.” In 2019, President Nelson spoke at the NAACP 110thNational Convention in Detroit and, in 2020, he co-authored a national op-ed with NAACP leaders to “address the intolerable sin of racism” (see newsroomchurchofJesusChrist.org.
In Chattanooga, Stake President Jason Isaacson underscored the importance of these initiatives. “Just before Juneteenth this year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the NAACP announced joint initiatives for academic and philanthropic purposes,” President Isaacson said. “This is huge, and it shows that church congregations and national organizations like the NAACP can work together to open doors to help many of God’s children. We are committed locally to work with sister organizations like the NAACP to bless those in our community who need help, regardless of age, sex, race, ethnicity, or religious affiliation.”
Cooperation between the organizations is intended to be local, national and global in outreach.