When the Archie and Phebe Mae Givens Foundation was established in 1972, its mission was to provide scholarships to African-American students. By 1985, the foundation’s focus had shifted after it successfully rallied community support to purchase a 3000-piece collection of African-American literature in partnership with the University of Minnesota. The collection resides at the University’s Andersen Library and continues to grow in size and scope.
The rechristened Givens Foundation for African American Literature, whose volunteer advisory board includes members of the Givens family as well as esteemed African-American artists and writers, now devotes itself to enriching cultural understanding through programs that advance and celebrate African American literature and writers.
The Foundation’s programs include Spirited Minds and Strong Souls Singing, an education program bringing Black literary artists into Twin Cities classrooms, and the Givens NOMMO Forums, bringing fresh and powerful African American authors to Minnesota to educate, inform, and enrich the dialogue on serious issues and to increase understanding of the relevance of the literary arts to issues that impact our families, organizations, and communities.