Dear Berea Alumni and Friends,
I am pleased to present this year’s President’s Report on Philanthropy and commend it for your review. Though a global pandemic has delivered us unprecedented circumstances, our financial position has remained strong and our sources of support have remained steadfast. Thanks to supporters like you and those featured in this report, Berea College continues with its historic mission despite a challenging environment. Working toward a world shaped by the power of love over hate, human dignity and equality, and peace with justice is as essential and urgent today as it has ever been. You have joined us in this mission, and for that, we are eternally grateful.
The stories in this report reflect the mission envisioned by the Reverend John G. Fee when he founded Berea College as an interracial institution aimed at promoting the equality of the races. He did so at a time when such a vision was unthinkable to many around him. Yet, he clung to his biblical foundation, reciting for those who opposed him that God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth (Acts 17:26). At the close of the Civil War, Fee recruited Black soldiers from nearby Camp Nelson to come study alongside white students. Back in town, the families in Berea lived in a “checkerboard” arrangement with alternating Black and white homes. The Fees’ mission, above even education, was that people come to an understanding of their kinship with one another and that each and every one of them was a conduit for God’s impartial love.
Racial equity, healing and justice have always been at the heart of the Berea College story. We have not always fully realized this goal, and there have been setbacks that lasted for decades, but the conviction that we are all of one blood has always been key to our identity and continues to inspire us today. Recent events have made it clear there is still a long way to go in terms of race relations in our country, but these same events move us to renew our commitment to interracial education and to building a beloved community that fosters understanding between people. It is not always popular, but it is always right. The Berea College story of tomorrow, within which you play a critical part, will be a tale of equity and healing as we reach out to one another with dignity and respect.
Thank you for being a part of that story. Your support of Berea College has enabled us to continue Reverend Fee’s mission even into the 21st century. Thanks to you, we surpassed our goal for the Berea Fund, which completes the tuition scholarships we give to each aspiring student with capable mind and willing hands. Thanks to you, we have been able to offer a complete education to students who otherwise would not be able to afford it. And thanks to you, we have been able share a message of true kinship with all we encounter. Without your support, the Berea College story would fade into history. Instead, we move, ever faithful, into a more just and equitable future.