DPLA receives $850,000 in new funding from the Mellon Foundation to support the advancement of racial equity in American archives

By DPLA, June 27, 2022.
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Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is pleased to announce an $850,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation to support its effort to advance racial justice in American archives. This funding will enable DPLA to launch a digital equity project to develop community-based partners and increase partner capacity to lead this work. The three-year project will provide support for underrepresented, under-resourced archives and expand DPLA’s capacity for supporting and partnering with diverse archival projects.

“We look forward to partnering with libraries and archives across the country to build and expand our work with community-based projects,” said DPLA Director of Community Engagement Shaneé Yvette Willis. “Ultimately, our goal is to advance equity in cultural heritage institutions and create a path for libraries and archives across the country to create more equitable and inclusive systems and collections.”

This new project builds off of the Black Women’s Suffrage Digital Collection, an effort launched in 2019 to provide access to more than 200,000 archival materials that help tell the story of the critical role Black women played, and continue to play, in the movement to ensure voting rights for all and the American civil rights movement as a whole. 

“We are grateful for Mellon Foundation’s vote of confidence in our mission to ensure equitable access to information for all,” said DPLA Board Chair Denise Stephens. “DPLA is committed to empowering institutions and communities that have been historically marginalized and underserved, and this support will enable us to more fully realize that work.”

“Mellon Foundation support accelerates our efforts to ensure that America’s libraries and archives are equipped to help tell an inclusive history of our nation,” said DPLA executive director John S. Bracken. “We invite our partners to be part of charting this work with us.”

DPLA is hosting a project kickoff meeting and information session for current and potential partners on Tuesday, July 19, at 1 pm ET. You can register for that event here

Digital Public Library of America amplifies the value of libraries and cultural organizations as trusted sources of shared knowledge. DPLA fulfills its mission by collaborating with partners to accelerate the adoption of innovative tools and ideas to empower and equip libraries in making public information more accessible.

The Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at mellon.org.