February 9, 2021 at 12:15pm
Dane Lisser

Black Student Union recognized for student and community engagement

Millikin University's Black Student Union (BSU), the University's oldest minority organization, received a $1,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Macon County's Racial Equity Fund on Feb. 5. The Community Foundation of Macon County launched the Racial Equity Fund to provide grant funding to local nonprofit organizations directly addressing the challenge of racism and inequity in the local community.

The grant from the Community Foundation of Macon County was given to support the Black Student Union's student and community engagement, including their work with Millikin's Black History Month Celebration.

The grant was presented by Natalie Beck, president of the Community Foundation of Macon County, as well as Tony Holly, director of strategic grantmaking and a 2009 Millikin graduate.

The grant presentation was held at Millikin's Perkinson Art Gallery, located at Kirkland Fine Arts Center, the site of current art exhibit "Southside Color Theories & Half Truths" by Millikin graduate Paul Branton '95. As part of the art exhibit, calendars featuring Branton's original artwork are on sale for $30 each. Money from each calendar sale will go to the Pauline Phillips Scholarship Fund–an endowed scholarship established by Millikin African American alumni in honor of Pauline Phillips. Phillips served as director of Housekeeping for Millikin from 1964-88 and was well known for her caring and nurturing of students. The scholarship may be given to a deserving African American student.

Community Foundation of Macon County

From left to right: Natalie Beck, president of the Community Foundation of Macon County, and Tony Holly, director of strategic grantmkaing

"It is a privilege to support the inspirational and groundbreaking work that the Black Student Union is doing at Millikin," Holly said. "As Millikin becomes a more and more diverse campus, it's gratifying to see a Black-led student organization taking the lead on racial equity issues on campus."

Holly's mother and sister both attended Millikin University back in the late 50s.

"Fast forward to today, where not only is a prominent black alumni's work being featured in the gallery in Kirkland, but on top of that, the Black Student Union membership of the same institution brought this plan to fruition to benefit the entire community," Holly said. "It's a wonderful legacy and we are excited to see the other ways that the BSU continues to be impactful, and we are honored to help."

The Community Foundation of Macon County also purchased 25 of Paul Branton's calendars in support of the Pauline Phillips Scholarship Fund.

"By purchasing and distributing 25 of Mr. Branton's beautiful calendars, everyone will have access to his work and message even after the exhibit closes," Holly said.

Millikin Black Student Union

Millikin University's Black Student Union supports its membership and campus community that share a common interest and concern for the history and culture of Black/African American students. The goal of the organization is to promote retention of Black/African American students, staff and faculty; provide Black/African American cultural enrichment and appreciation; serve as an advocate for and provide support for students, staff and faculty whom identify as Black/African American; promote positive social interaction for all students and Black/African American students at Millikin University; and continue to bridge the gap between various cultural and ethnic communities in order to promote understanding awareness and sensitivity towards diversity and inclusion.