Join the Center for Nonprofit Management for a conversation about equity, race, and poverty in America with Alan Curtis, the CEO of the Eisenhower Foundation. The Eisenhower Foundation focuses its work on issues of race and poverty in America as a continuation of the initiatives begun under President Johnson in 1967.
In 1967, President Johnson appointed the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, known as the Kerner Commission after its chair, Governor Otto Kerner, Jr. of Illinois. The 11-member Presidential Commission was to investigate the causes of the 1967 race riots in the United States and to provide recommendations for the future.
The Kerner Report was released in 1968, finding that the riots resulted from black frustration at the lack of economic opportunity. Martin Luther King Jr. pronounced the report a "physician's warning of approaching death, with a prescription for life.", and the report warned that "our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal."
The Eisenhower Foundation is the private sector continuation of both the Kerner Commission and the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence and was created in 1981. In 1998, to mark the 30th anniversary of the Kerner Report, the foundation sponsored two complementary reports. The Millennium Breach found the racial divide had grown in the subsequent years with inner-city unemployment at crisis levels and that during most of the decade that followed the Kerner Report, America made progress on the principal fronts the report dealt with: race, poverty, and inner cities. Then progress stopped and in some ways reversed by a series of economic shocks and trends and the government's action and inaction.
In 2018 the Eisenhower Foundation commissioned a 50-year update report of the 1968 Kerner Commission report, “Healing our Divided Society”, and found that we have made progress over the decades but still have much work to be done. Alan Curtis, CEO of the Eisenhower Foundation, will be in Nashville October 21 and we plan to host him at the Center for Nonprofit Management to share details of the 2018 report and lead us in conversation to address inequity in our community.