Our Mission Statement
The Heather Heyer Foundation was founded to support the education and empowerment of individuals dedicated to creating positive social change.
What We Do
We provide scholarships to support the education and empowerment of individuals dedicated to creating positive social change.Scholarships are awarded to those seeking a degree or certification in, but not limited to, law, paralegal studies, social work, social justice, and education, and who intend to promote peaceful social change using those skills in their profession. Please visit our scholarship page to learn more.
The Heather Heyer Foundation was created to honor Heather Heyer, a young civil rights activist, who dedicated her life to promoting equal rights for all people. The Foundation has established a scholarship program to provide financial assistance to individuals passionate about positive social change.
The foundation was created with money that poured in to Heather's family after the gofundme had been closed. Money was sent to the family via general delivery, through the funeral home, through TV stations, through the law firm where she had worked, and to her mother, Susan. She approached Alfred Wilson, who had been Heather's supervisor and friend to ask if he would help her establish something legal with accountability.
Since Susan had been a teacher for many years and Alfred had worked before with scholarship funds, it seemed logical to form a scholarship fund. She also donated a portion of the original donated funds the family had received. The first plan was to only give scholarships to Heather's former high school and to Charlottesville High School.
IRS paperwork was filed only nine days after Heather's murder. Shortly afterward, Susan was invited to speak at the MTV Video Music Awards. On that stage in front of the world, she announced the formation of the Heather Heyer Foundation. From there, she appeared on The Ellen Show, where we were given a $50,000 donation from Shutterfly, We decided to expand our thinking a bit.
In late 2017, we partnered with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to offer scholarships to the winners of an essay contest, Students across the country were invited to submit an essay answering the question, "What are you doing to stand against Hate in your community?" AHF gave $8000 in scholarships, and we gave $1000. The winners rode with Alfred and Susan in the 2018 Rose Bowl Parade along with members of the AHF Board.
In 2018, we gave out three $1000 scholarships through our own scholarship program. In 2019, we expanded to give to six local high schools and 1 adult-in-college. And in 2020, we gave out another eight $1000 scholarships in the same categories. For 2021, we provided 7 scholarships at $1500 each.
The Foundation is building an endowment to someday offer students a full four year ride to college. Along the way, we are finding additional ways to support positive activism. In 2018, we offered support to a non-profit group who took their youth to the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. In 2019, Heyer Voices was formed in conjunction with another organization to develop youth empowerment in high school students. It was to continue in 2020, but was closed due to pandemic challenges for our youth.
Stay tuned as we find new ways to continue to work within our mission statement and in addition to scholarships!