ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities Announces 2023 James A. Joseph Lecturer and Award Winner

ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities Announces 2023 James A. Joseph Lecturer and Award Winner

Dr. John H. Jackson

The James A. Joseph Lecture was established in 1991 in honor of ABFE’s co-founder and distinguished philanthropic leader, Ambassador James A. Joseph.


Each year, this award recognizes an outstanding individual whose visionary leadership and stewardship of progressive philanthropic ideals advance ABFE’s mission. The Lecture is considered ABFE’s most prestigious leadership award and an illustration of our continuing commitment to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas about the role of philanthropy in addressing the concerns of Black communities.


This year’s James A. Joseph Lecture and Award receipt is Dr. John H. Jackson, President and CEO of the Schott Foundation for Public Education. This native of Chicago’s Southside has utilized his empathetic intellect and his masterful leadership to steer the Schott Foundation into becoming the dynamic national public fund that it is today.


“Amid the movement for racial justice in the summer of 2020, Ambassador Joseph counseled us to ‘Do what you can do, wherever you are.’ “His life was the embodiment of that sentiment,” said Dr. Jackson. When he was in Tuscaloosa, he organized against the Klan. When he was a university chaplain, he preached love, justice, and forgiveness. When he advised HBCUs, he worked for equity and opportunity. When he was Ambassador to South Africa, he joined the cause of racial justice and reconciliation. In this urgent moment, when democracy is under attack, as philanthropic leaders we must do what we can do – namely, protect and continue to advance our core values of a multi-racial democracy–inclusion, equity, and fairness.”


Dr. Jackson played an integral role in advancing the education justice movement by partnering with education justice leaders to form three national coalitions working with grassroots organizations deep within their states and communities.


A proud product of Chicago’s public school system, Dr. Jackson’s innovative grantmaking model for Schott focuses on organizing power for Black and other disenfranchised communities. John supports systemic solutions– policies, structures, practices, and budgets – directed by the people in the communities being served.


Dr. Jackson’s visionary and progressive leadership is further demonstrated by his involvement with the Racial Justice in Education Endowment. In one year, with his leadership, Schott has raised $5 million towards a five-year $30 million target to launch this endowment, which is the first of its kind to raise capital for endowments to ensure the sustainability of three BIPOC-led national education justice alliances.


“I am thrilled that my friend and colleague Dr. Jackson is the recipient of this year’s James A. Joseph Lecture award,” said ABFE President and CEO Susan Taylor Batten.  “Ambassador Joseph was a mentor and friend to many, and with his recent passing it was even more critical that we recognize another esteemed leader poised with vision, passion, and power for our sector and our people.  John is a philanthropic leader who has advocated for a vision of racial justice in public education for decades. Under his leadership, Schott Foundation has fueled organizing power for Black and other disenfranchised communities.”


“If it wasn’t clear before, it certainly is clear now, how critical public education and our youth are to racial justice and democracy. This is exactly in what Dr. Jackson has always urged philanthropy to invest.”


The 32nd Annual James A. Joseph Lecture and Awards will take place on April 14th in Raleigh, North Carolina during Harambee, the largest convening of Black philanthropic professionals. Full-access tickets to this year’s Harambee are SOLD OUT! But you can still join us virtually. Register here!