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Foundation Establishes West Virginia Reparations Fund


In May of 2022, the United Methodist Foundation of West Virginia established the West Virginia Reparations Fund with a generous gift of an anonymous donor. We believe it to be the first reparations fund established in West Virginia. The Fund was created as a step toward repairing the damage inflicted by slavery, segregation, and racism as experienced by the African American community in West Virginia. The donor hopes that the fund will also provide a model for congregations, communities, businesses, and the state itself to establish reparation funds and supply a means for individuals, congregations, and others to support reparations to the African American community in our state.
 
Asked about the motivation for establishing the fund and why the request to remain anonymous, the donor quoted noted theologian and civil rights leader, Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman saying that “there can never be a substitute for taking personal responsibility for social change”[1] before going on to say
 
I do not believe our country can heal from the wounds of slavery until we acknowledge the damage done by slavery and our responsibility to make amends for that harm. It’s not about being a ‘white hero’ or even an ally, it’s about recognizing that our country through wage theft, segregation, and denial of opportunity systematically took wealth from our African American sisters and brothers and that there is a moral responsibility to return that wealth to its rightful owners.
 
Proceeds from the West Virginia Reparations Fund will be used for projects relating to reparations to the African American community as identified by a steering committee comprised of representatives of African American organizations and individuals including the West Virginia Annual Conference Commission on Religion and Race or Committee on Ethnic Local Church Concerns; Charleston Black Ministerial Alliance; a young adult who is African American; the NAACP, as well as other representatives of the African American community in West Virginia.
 
Individuals, congregations, and others can support the West Virginia Reparations Fund through annual gifts during Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Black History Month, Juneteenth celebrations, and other occasions; dedicating a percentage of a congregation’s or organization’s budget or an individual’s income to the fund (one supporter has made an ongoing commitment to send 2.5% of their salary to the West Virginia Reparations Fund); and other gifts, such as bequests.
 
For more information on or to give to the West Virginia Reparations Fund, please contact or visit our online giving site at umfwv.org
 
[1]Thurman, Howard. With Head and Heart: The Autobiography of Howard Thurman. New York, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1979. p. 161.

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