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As a university-wide, interdisciplinary research institute, the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity works to deepen understanding of the causes of—and solutions to—racial and ethnic disparities worldwide and to bring about a society that is fair and just for all people.

Kirwan Institute research is designed to be actively used to solve problems in society. Its research and staff expertise are shared through an extensive network of colleagues and partners—ranging from other researchers, grassroots social justice advocates, policymakers, and community leaders nationally and globally, who can quickly put ideas into action.


Sometimes, barriers within society prevent people from accessing opportunity. Such barriers are not always obvious to others—yet are real obstacles to success. Sustainable jobs, quality education, safe and affordable housing, a healthy environment, and access to health care are all important factors for stability and personal advancement in life. All of these factors, among others, interact to create a “web of opportunity.” How people and groups are situated within this “web” significantly influences their chances for happiness and success in life.

The Kirwan Institute uses a structural/systems approach to investigate the causes and consequences of racial disparities and to conceive policy solutions.

The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity was established at The Ohio State University in May 2003 and named for former university president William E. “Brit” Kirwan in recognition of his efforts to champion diversity.

The Kirwan Institute is led by Executive Director Sharon Davies, a former Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a Notes and Comments Editor of the Columbia Law Review while in law school at Columbia University. After graduation she worked as an Associate Attorney for Steptoe and Johnson in Washington, D.C. and Lord, Day & Lord Barrett Smith in New York City, and later served at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.  Davies joined the law faculty at Ohio State University in 1995, was awarded tenure in 1999, promoted to Full Professor in 2002, and named the John C. Elam/Vorys Sater Professor in 2003.  Davies teaches and writes in the area of criminal justice, and race and law.  She is the author of Rising Road: A True Tale of Love, Race and Religion in America (Oxford 2010).

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You Can Help Make An Impact – Give to Kirwan Today


Help us to create opportunity in our communities


The Kirwan Institute is locally and nationally engaged in marginalized communities to expand opportunity for all, focused in areas such as employment, health, education, criminal justice, and housing.

We collaborate with organizations to creatively and critically think about race and ethnicity and their connection to issues affecting opportunity.  Our projects are integrated with sound research, strategic communication, and advocacy.   You can support the Kirwan Institute today.  Your investment in our mission will help to “create a just and inclusive society where all people and communities have opportunity to succeed.”

For more information, please contact Dinessa Solomon, Executive Director of Foundation Relations at solomon.189@osu.edu.

How to Give

There are two ways to give to the Kirwan Institute:


Make a donation by credit card through Ohio State’s secure server. Please select ‘Other’ as your preferred recipient and copy the following into the ‘Special Instructions’ box: *Donation for the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.

Development Fund #312320. To make a donation by check,  send to: Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity 33 W 11th Avenue, Room 209 Columbus, OH 43201

**Checks should be made payable to “The Ohio State University Foundation.“**