March 16, 2021

Mayer Brown plays pivotal role in creating foundation to heal racism and to allocate $1 billion for descendants of slaves

In a landmark undertaking, the largest known association of descendants of enslaved ancestors and Jesuits responsible for their enslavement announced a partnership to create the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation, a billion-dollar vision to move America toward racial healing through a process of truth and reconciliation. A Mayer Brown team, led by Private Client, Trusts & Estates Partner James Casey, advised on the formation of the Foundation and Trust.

The Foundation—formed by the GU272 Descendants Association and the Jesuits—is a first-of-its-kind partnership between the descendants of enslaved persons and the descendants of their enslavers. It is rooted in the events of 1838, when 272 enslaved men, women and children were sold by the Jesuit owners of Georgetown University to plantation owners in Louisiana.

According to Mr. Casey, “It was an honor and privilege for me to work with the GU272 Descendants and the Jesuits to create this enduring charitable structure. The Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Trust and the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation have been carefully designed to provide the framework for the long-overdue and much-needed truth, healing, reconciliation and transformation in organizations, communities and individuals in our nation. By supporting these unique institutions through their development years, Mayer Brown is affirming its core commitment to corporate social responsibility to bring about meaningful change in our nation by fighting systemic racism and promoting racial equity.”

The Chicago-based Mayer Brown team also included: Private Clients, Trusts & Estates – partner Gina Oderda and associate Sophia Yanuzzi; Tax Transactions & Consulting – associate George Haines; and Corporate & Securities – associate Matthew Streit.

To learn more about the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation, visit:

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