The Nellie Mae Education Foundation Welcomes Dr. Makeeba McCreary, President of the New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund (NCF) and Dr. Prudence Carter, the Sarah and Joseph Jr. Dowling Professor of Sociology at Brown University to the Board of Directors
We are excited to announce the appointment of Dr. Makeeba McCreary, president of the New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund (NCF) and Dr. Prudence Carter, the Sarah and Joseph Jr. Dowling Professor of Sociology at Brown University to the Board of Directors. As board members, Dr. McCreary’s and Dr. Carter’s expertise and scholarship in social justice and education will support the Foundation as it continues on its racial equity journey in public education.
“Dr. McCreary and Dr. Carter join the Foundation at such a critical time in the history of public education as a public good and the fight for racial equity and justice. We are beyond honored to welcome them both to the Board of Directors and we look forward to working alongside and learning from them in advancing racial equity in public education.” – Jessica Spohn, Interim President, Nellie Mae Education Foundation and Michael Carey, Interim CEO, Nellie Mae Education Foundation
“The Board of Directors is honored to have Dr. McCreary and Dr. Carter join us and broaden the perspectives that inform our efforts to: 1) Ensure that the President and CEO along with staff have the guidance they need to strengthen their grantmaking, and 2) Continue governing the Foundation in ways that are aligned with the organization’s mission and values. More specifically, Dr. McCreary expands the Board’s expertise in community engagement and advocacy, and in the role the arts and arts organizations can play as levers for improved learning and development in and out of school. Dr. Carter will enrich the Board’s expertise in national research and policy on ways to identify and remove structural barriers that inhibit the achievement based on race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. We look forward to their participation and insights as we continue to develop a new generation of Board leaders.” – Dr. Warren Simmons, Board Chair, Nellie Mae Education Foundation
NCF is a coalition founded by Black and Brown executives from Massachusetts’ leading corporations united to support Black and Brown communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic and in the wake of the brutal killing by police of George Floyd. Dr. McCreary joined NCF as president after its founders raised $20 million. To date, NCF has reached $40 million of its $100 million goal. These funds are being used to support eligible nonprofit organizations to build an ecosystem of area leaders and stakeholders committed to dismantling systemic racism in Boston and across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
“I believe access to a high quality, equity-based education is perhaps the single most powerful lever for delivering on racial justice. I am honored to join the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and “walk the walk”, delivering on a philanthropic approach that is radical and intentional.” – Dr. Makeeba McCreary
Prior to joining NCF, Dr. McCreary worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) as the Patti and Jonathan Kraft Chief of Learning and Community Engagement. In this role, she focused on audience development and integrating diverse perspectives through the lens of art. Under her direction, she expanded the MFA’s annual roster of community celebrations and established the Black Arts and Artists Curators Circle. Working closely with MFA curators, she incorporated community voices into exhibitions and gallery displays, including the critically acclaimed Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation. During the MFA’s pandemic induced closure in 2020, Dr. McCreary’s division swiftly moved to transition all programming to a digital platform for more than 1.2 million followers winning Boston Magazine’s Best of Boston Award for the Best Virtual Museum Experience. Additionally, as a passionate advocate for young people, Dr. McCreary lead the charge on improvements to the school group experience and new paid opportunities for high school and college students. Those initiatives included a paid college internship program and Curatorial Study Hall—a high school student-curated exhibition called Black Histories, Black Futures.
A native Bostonian, Dr. McCreary received her doctorate in education from the Teachers College at Columbia University, a master’s degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
As a highly acclaimed scholar and author of Keepin’ It Real: School Success beyond Black and White and Stubborn Roots: Race, Culture, and Inequality in U.S. & South African Schools and co-editor of Closing the Opportunity Gap: What American Must Do to Give Every Child an Even Chance, Dr. Carter is the Sarah and Joseph Jr. Dowling Professor of Sociology at Brown University. Her work has been widely published in numerous journals and books, including Critical Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Harvard Educational Review, Social Problems, Sociology of Education, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Teachers College Record, Review of Research in Education, and the British Journal of Sociology. Dr. Carter’s work has also been featured on multiple national public radio and TV news programs.
“I am deeply honored to join the Board of Directors of the Nellie Mae Foundation, whose mission resonates with my own values and goals. Through my research and writing, I have come to understand and argue that opportunity gaps are a major driver of racial achievement gaps. As someone who has experienced segregation in public schools both as a researcher and student, I strongly believe that achieving racial equity in education is crucial for realizing true democracy and social justice.” – Dr. Prudence Carter
Prior to joining Brown University, Dr. Carter served as the E.H. and Mary E. Pardee Professor and Dean of the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley from 2016-2021. She has also been on the faculties of Harvard University and Stanford University. Her research focuses on understanding and addressing persistent racial, class, and gender inequalities in education and society.
Dr. Carter holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Columbia University, a Master of Philosophy from Columbia University, a Master of Art in Sociology and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Brown University. She is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Education, Sociological Research Association, and the American Education Research Association and she currently serves as the President of the American Sociological Association.