Rhode Island Foundation Racially Discriminatory Scholarships and Grants Challenged by Equal Protection Project

Case Particulars



Date Filed

June 10, 2024

Docket No.


Case Status

Letter sent to Rhode Island Foundation Demanding an End to Racially Discriminatory Grants

Case Overview

On June 10, 2024, the Equal Protection Project (EPP) delivered a letter to the Rhode Island Foundation (RIF), the largest charity in the state, calling on RIF to end its race-based scholarship and grant programming in light of the 2023 Supreme Court decision in Students for Fair Admissions and the 11th Circuit ruling recently in the Fearless Fund case.


After detailing numerous discriminatory programs, EPP wrote in its letter:


As reflected in the non-exhaustive list above, race-based scholarships and grant-making are widespread at RIF. It appears that all applications are processed, reviewed, and approved by RIF through a central RIF application portal.


In Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard University, 600 U.S. 181 (2023)(“SFFA”), the United States Supreme Court held that race-conscious admissions violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment (noting the same standard applied under the Civil Rights Act of 1964). The implications of the SFFA ruling go beyond university admissions….


RIF appears to have forged ahead with race-based scholarships and grants notwithstanding the ruling in SFFA….


[T]he United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit recently issued a preliminary injunction against a grant program limited to black women that mirrors the types of race-based discrimination present in the RIF scholarships and grants listed above. We call this case to your attention because it directly implicates RIF’s business practices and the potential legal liability of RIF and its donors….


In light of SFFA and Fearless Fund, it’s time for RIF to eliminate racial discrimination in its scholarships and grants.


The Equal Protection Project hereby demands that the Rhode Island Foundation cease and desist from awarding scholarships or making grants that condition eligibility on race, from making decisions based on race, and from excluding individuals or organizations based on race.


Please confirm to us within one week from the date of this letter whether RIF will end its race-based scholarship and grant practices, and embrace the non-discrimination required by law.