Absolutely Affirmative

Faith SandlerDemocracy, Racism, Words of Faith

Faith Sandler, Executive Director and Lauren Nash Ming, President of the Board of Directors

Editor’s Note: Late last week, the Supreme Court of the United States issued decisions on two matters of great importance to the students and staff of The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis – federal student loan forgiveness and affirmative action in admissions. While legal scholars, university administrators, corporate DEI professionals, and the media continue to study the decisions and adjust their processes, our focus turned first to our students and all of the community partners who have put trust in The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis. Thanks to more than 100 years of consistency in purpose and careful attention to context, The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis is well positioned for this challenging moment. Rather than trouble you today with a long essay detailing the Court’s decision and our adherence to underlying principles (which pass the tests therein), please find below our message to our students. Before tomorrow’s barbeques and dramatic recitations of the preamble to the Constitution, please join us in assuring our students and this nation that higher education and democracy remain inextricably linked, and all should have substantive opportunity for higher education regardless of economic circumstance.


Dear Scholarship Foundation Students
(and the community gathered around us):

Last week’s headlines might make you wonder where you stand, where we stand, and why. We send this letter not as an advocacy or public policy position, but as an assurance to YOU.

We are both AFFIRMATIVE and continuing to take ACTION.


  • YOU were selected for funding on the basis of three criteria: significant financial need; academic match with the requirements of the degree you are seeking; and good character.
  • YOU (and each student funded by The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis) have what it takes to attend and graduate from the school of your choice except for the money required.
  • YOUR ECONOMIC CIRCUMSTANCES are a determining factor in your selection for funding. We serve students with the greatest FINANCIAL NEED to help overcome adverse economic circumstances standing in the way of your continued education. Those circumstances may include: discrimination; family medical and mental health conditions; geographic isolation and other barriers to access; incarceration of a parent/guardian; unemployment or underemployment; or being the first in a family to pursue higher education.
  • NO IDENTITY FACTORS earned you bonus points or demerits in our selection process: not the color of your skin: not the country in which you or your ancestors were born; not the religion you practice, if any; not the gender you identify; not your sexuality or your politics.
  • With these principles guiding us, we will continue to support you and the students who come after you.

College admissions practices already insidiously benefit those with wealth, especially at highly selective or elite universities. Scholarships awarded to those without need make matters even worse. This is not new to us, and The Scholarship Foundation of St Louis will continue to disrupt that dynamic so you can prove what is possible.


  • SERVICES: We will continue to fortify what we offer students to assure that you are adequately supported at the schools you select.
  • LEADERSHIP: We will place top priority on engaging all Foundation scholars in developing our organization policies and positions on policy matters.
  • POLICY: We will continue to advocate with you for need-based aid at the school, state, and federal levels and for the support services students need.
  • PARTNERS: We will always engage philanthropic and program partners who share a commitment to higher education for you and others who do not have the advantage of wealth.
  • OUTCOMES: We will celebrate the diversity among us: students, staff, and board. We will demonstrate outcomes that advance not just inclusion but economic and racial equity as well. If you want to know more about the complexion and composition of The Scholarship Foundation, click here: Equity Report

What can YOU do? Know that we are fully invested and confident that you belong and can thrive in college. In the midst of the predictable confusion that will result from the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States and at your school, we encourage you to stay focused on your own guideposts and goals. Keep in close contact with The Scholarship Foundation to communicate your challenges and accomplishments.

The United States of America long ago recognized that democracy requires an educated society. That truth is no less evident now. So if ever the noise in this nation causes you to question your own worth and wisdom, give one of us a call.  Really.

Faith A. Sandler
Executive Director

Lauren Nash Ming
President of the Board of Directors