The tragedy of the shooting at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, SC, has brought forth the best of generosity in the wake of a crisis. Each instance of a gift has been inspiring and amazing in scope. Anonymous donors have now come forward to announce a scholarship fund for the members of the extended Mother Emanuel AME Church community. The donors wish to be anonymous.
The anonymous donors issued the following statement:
"We do not pretend to understand the pain caused by this unimaginable tragedy. We simply want members of the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church community to know that the burdens of perseverance and empathy, which they have demonstrated with such dignity, do not fall exclusively on their shoulders. We want them to know that others, most of whom do not share their race or religion, who do not come from South Carolina, abhor the injustices from which they have suffered and admire the ways the African-American community has enriched our nation. We honor Reverend Pinckney who so profoundly embodied the values that bind us together as Americans."
The donors have committed in excess of $3 million to the Reverend Pinckney Scholarship Fund, a non-profit corporation registered in the State of South Carolina. The Fund will provide college and advanced degree scholarships for members of the extended Mother Emanuel AME Church community including the families of the victims of the June 17, 2015 tragedy. Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr., Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and William M. Lewis, Jr. have agreed to serve as the initial board members of the corporation. The Board and the Mother Emanuel AME Church leadership will establish the grant making process.
Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. said, “To know that the children of this community will have increased access to an excellent education is so very heartwarming. We are grateful for this gift for their future. The grace and courage of this church and its members is a light in the darkness of this tragedy. The generosity of these anonymous donors has touched all of us. This scholarship honors Reverend Clementa Pinckney in a way that provides building blocks for the future of our community and I know that he would be greatly honored. This gift will be an enduring legacy in his name.”
Reverend Dr. Norvel Goff, Sr., Interim Pastor and Presiding Elder, Edisto District of the 7th Episcopal District of South Carolina offered that, “It is so appropriate to have a scholarship fund in the name of Reverend Pinckney as he highly valued education. It is our hope that the recipients of this gift will value education themselves further along in life.”
“There is no better way to honor Reverend Clementa Pinckney–a man of such profound accomplishments in the church and in politics–and a man of even greater potential before tragedy struck, than to endow a scholarship fund in his name,” said William M. Lewis, Jr. “The anonymous nature of the initial contributions appropriately focuses attention on the victims while demonstrating that the Mother Emanuel AME community’s struggle resonates across geographic, religious and racial boundaries.”
“The loss of Rev. Pinckney and the death of the faithful eight who perished with him cuts deep, but through this educational fund, Rev. Pinckney's already rich legacy will ripple across time, promoting the values of learning and public service he so nobly embodied in word and in sterling deed," said Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Anyone wishing to make tax-deductible contributions to the Fund may send it to:
Reverend Pinckney Scholarship Fund
c/o The Mayor’s Office, City of Charleston
Post Office Box 304, Charleston, SC 29402
Contributions may also be made online at: www.pinckneyfund.org