Opportunities for a better education can be hard to come by for many people, especially those in disadvantaged communities. The William Moore Liberation Through Education Endowed Grant-in-aid Fund was created to help send young adult members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in and around New Haven, Connecticut, from these communities to universities sponsored by the Church.
The fund was founded by Lia Collings, a woman who had previously lived in New Haven before moving to Utah in 2013. She created the fund after noticing the racial tension and inequity that has been prevalent in 2020.
“I felt that while friends of different races in a disadvantaged community that I love certainly knew that they were children of God regardless of their skin color and thus had an awareness of their divine potential, because of economic and educational backgrounds — not racial backgrounds — there wasn’t a great opportunity for them to get to a place where they could help others,” Collings said.
New Haven experiences high levels of poverty and violence. According to Neighborhood Scout, one has a .85% chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime, compared to the United States’ average of .37%, according to Pew Research.
Collings created the fund with the idea of giving disadvantaged youth from these communities a better opportunity.
“We hoped that this fund — scholarship money at a Church school earmarked specifically for them — would direct their vision in a more productive direction,” Collings said. “With the ward and stake roughly represented at a one-third African American, one-third Latinx, one-third white racial demographic, this fund will equally help those who need help not because of their skin color, but because they are children of God.”
There are many ways in which this fund will benefit youth in the Church.
“Being surrounded by other faithful people their own age — especially when they have grown up as the only member at their school and only one of a handful of youth in their ward or branch — is also immeasurably strengthening,” Collings said.
This fund will also benefit BYU-Idaho.
“I would estimate that most of the students coming from New Haven will be first or second-generation members of the Church,” Collings said. “BYU-Idaho will be able to provide a better, deeper, more well-rounded educational product by having these students in its ranks.”
Kirk Cheney, an alumnus of BYU-I, lived in New Haven to attend law school at Yale.
“This fund will be very helpful for youth in New Haven,” Cheney said. “Just like students from the mountain west benefit from living in New Haven for school, students from New Haven will benefit from the unique experience they’ll get in Rexburg.”
The goal for the fund is to raise $45,000, but they are planning on raising it to $55,000 on Jan. 1, 2021, to account for the rise in tuition costs. They have already reached the $45,000 goal.
To donate to the Liberation Through Education, click here.