Professor awarded $100,000 Gates Foundation grant

Posted on June 17, 2020

Dr. Jocelyn R. Smith Lee, assistant professor of human development and family studies

UNC Greensboro’s Dr. Jocelyn R. Smith Lee has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for her project “Disrupting Dehumanizing Narratives of Black Men in Poverty.” 

Smith Lee is one of just 28 grantees across the nation to be selected as part of the Gates Foundation’s Voices for Economic Opportunity Grand Challenge. The purpose of the Grand Challenge, launched in September 2019, is to establish ways to offer alternatives to confusing, conflicting, and inaccurate accounts about what poverty is, why it happens, to whom it happens, and how to address it. 

Smith Lee’s project aims to tell the stories of traumatic loss, resilience, and quests for economic mobility of young Black men in Baltimore, in order to recast them in the national consciousness as human beings deserving of dignity and investment rather than as social problems. The assistant professor of human development and family studies will partner with visual artist and educator Zun Lee, M.D., and the Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition.