The Minnesota-based Philando Castile Relief Foundation is named for the late African American education professional, fatally shot in Saint Paul, Minn., in the summer of 2016, during a routine traffic stop.

While cooperating with the officer in every way persons of color are trained to do, his death served as an unfortunate symbol of the perils black men face in their encounters with law enforcement.

Out of the ashes of despair, comes empowering relief.

As was the tradition of the namesake of this award, Reg Weaver, Castile, in his position as a cafeteria supervisor at a Montessori school in Saint Paul, consistently used his own funds to buy school lunches for students… making sure that no child would ever go hungry on his watch. The Relief Foundation was created in honor of Castile’s compassion and generosity, and to carry on his legacy.

Their mission is to educate the public on how poverty impacts a child’s ability to learn and grow, encouraging the fight to eradicate this problem in the world’s wealthiest nation. The Philando Castile Feeds the Children initiative solicits donations to pay off student school lunch debts, while raising awareness of this hot button issue. The campaign has been successful in helping rid children of poverty’s stigma by supporting the congressional bill named the No Shame at School Act.

The Foundation also works to provide support systems to families who’ve been impacted by the scourge of gun and police violence, knowing that young people who are impoverished are more likely to be victims of this national crisis and the trauma that ensues.

Working in concert with educators, civic leaders, students and prosecutors, the Relief Foundation attempts to bridge the gap between these entities, creating forums for better understanding, so that tragedies such as what befell Castile will cease… as will children being denied quality education due to economic status.

The Foundation also awards annual scholarships to graduating seniors, giving those who once couldn’t afford a school milk carton or juice box access to higher education.

The Philando Castile Foundation… out of the ashes of despair, comes empowering relief.

2020 HCR Awards Honorees