As daughters of educators, we were taught by our parents about the power of education to change lives. The Noels and the Lees were first-generation college students whose inspired teaching touched the lives of thousands, from kindergarteners to graduate students. Karin’s father Kermit J. Lee became the first African American professor of architecture at Syracuse University.

While we didn’t quite follow our parents into the classroom, our entire professional careers have been dedicated to education, as campus officers and consultants. We have witnessed firsthand the positive impact of education in so many tangible ways, especially when partnered with philanthropy.

We also recognize the limits of both education and philanthropy in the face of systemic racism in this country, as witnessed in the tragic death of George Floyd, yet another unarmed person of color.  As optimists by nature, we still believe that an educated, compassionate and charitable citizenry can make progress towards a more just society, without violence. As realists by experience, we know racism won’t simply disappear without courageous, concrete, and intentional actions, not just words, by the majority, not just by the minority.

Our entire WASHBURN & MCGOLDRICK team believes our nation must recognize that all people are created equal and must be treated with dignity and respect. We are horrified by the divisions that exist in our country today. We are one people.

Many people have written eloquently about Mr. Floyd’s death and its aftermath. We gravitate in particular to those who suggest a path forward with specific steps we can all take. Phil Buchanan, President of the Center for Effective Philanthropy posted Race, Equity and Unavoidable Challenges for Philanthropy. Share it with others. Resolve to find at least one action you can take – NOW.