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Julius Rosenwald Fund (1917–1948)

Total Giving: $22,249,624[1]

Prominent Grants: $4.4 million to build 5,000 one-room schoolhouses for African American students in the rural South. Grants to prominent individuals, including Ralph Ellison, W.E.B Du Bois, and Langston Hughes.

Summary: The Rosenwald Fund was established by Julius Rosenwald, part-owner of Sears, Roebuck & Company. His primary philanthropic interest was with social issues, primarily education for African Americans in the rural South. The Fund was intended from its establishment to spend-down within 25 of Rosenwald’s death. It officially closed in 1948 after donating more than $70,000,000 to public schools, colleges, universities, museums, black institutions and Jewish charities.

A rural school building program for African-American children was one of the largest programs administered by the Rosenwald Fund. Over $4.4 million in matching funds stimulated construction of more than 5,000 one-room schools (and larger ones), as well as shops and teachers’ homes, mostly in the South. The Rosenwald Fund also made grants directly to African-American artists, writers, researchers and intellectuals between 1928 and 1948. Civil rights leader Julian Bond, whose father received a Rosenwald fellowship, has called the list of grantees a “Who’s Who of black America in the 1930s and 1940s.