Southern Education Foundation

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Mission and Programs

The Southern Education Foundation (SEF) has worked for over 130 years to promote access to equal, quality education for racial minoritieschildren_back_sef.jpg (5535 bytes) and others disadvantaged in the American South. The Foundation has been instrumental in establishing public kindergarten, promoting African American participation and achievement in higher education, and setting a public policy agenda for education reform in the South.

Currently, the Foundation's largest programs seek to increase the number of African American teachers in public schools, advance equity in higher education, and strengthen the fund raising capacities of historically Black colleges and universities. Additionally, SEF recently began a scholarship program for sub-Saharan African students studying at historically Black colleges in the southern United States. SEF’s Comparative Human Relations Initiative began in 1995.

lynn.jpg (2768 bytes)SEF's president is Lynn W. Huntley. She joined SEF in 1995 to spearhead the Comparative Human Relations Initiative. In 2000, she was named SEF's executive vice president, overseeing program development, personnel and operations. Prior to joining SEF, Huntley directed the Rights and Social Justice Program at the Ford Foundation. She also has served as section chief in the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice and worked at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Huntley received an AB degree in sociology with honors from Barnard College and a JD degree from Columbia University, where she also served on the Law Review. SEF’s Board of Trustees Chair is Dr. Norman Francis, President of Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.


In 1937, four important education funds in the American South consolidated to create the Southern Education Foundation. They were:

Until 1983, SEF operated as a private foundation. Today, it is a public charity funded primarily by grants from foundations, corporations, and individuals. For additional information, please go to

SEF - The Southern Education Foundation
Aims and Activites | SEF | IWAG | Acknowledgements