In 1958, Virginia Gov. James Lindsey Almond Jr. shut down Lane High School and Venable Elementary School to prevent the integration of Charlottesville public schools. When schools reopened the following year, a small group of African-American children bravely walked through the doors that had been previously closed to them — three students at Lane, and nine at Venable. These students became known as the “Charlottesville 12.”
Sandra Wicks Lewis was one of those 12 students. With help from other members of the Charlottesville 12, Lewis recently organized and funded a new college scholarship for African-American students through the Community Foundation to help expand access to education. Charlottesville High School graduate Kely Oufoula Kossi received the fund's first scholarship earlier this year, and as the endowment grows, the group hopes to award multiple annual scholarships.
Lewis believes that students who have excelled in and out of the classroom deserve a college education. “I think the new civil right is that a child should be able to go to college,” says Lewis.
Established in 1999, the Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band has been committed to making grants in Charlottesville and the surrounding area for nearly two decades. Bama Works has supported transformative community projects related to youth programs, vulnerable populations, the natural environment, and arts and cultural assets. Since its inception, the Fund has made more than 1,200 grants, totaling more than $18 million.
Dave Matthews Band also gives back to the community in other ways. Following the white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville during August 2017, the band led efforts to organize “A Concert for Charlottesville: An Evening of Music and Unity” on Sept. 24, 2017, in UVA's Scott Stadium. While the star-studded concert was free to all, attendees were encouraged to make donations to benefit victims of the August events and their families, first responders and organizations devoted to the promotion of healing, unity and justice in the Charlottesville community and nationally. A total of $1.4 million was donated through a combination of merchandise sales, fan donations around the world, and individual and corporate contributions. The
Concert for Charlottesville Fund was the single-largest contributor to the Heal Charlottesville activities.