Ahmaud Arbery Foundation
Ahmaud Arbery – “Maud” to his friends – liked to jog to clear his head.
But when the 25-year-old was murdered in a racially motivated hate crime while jogging in Glynn County in 2020, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, channeled her grief into action to preserve her son’s legacy, establishing the Ahmaud Arbery Foundation.
“I wanted to get some good out of something so bad,” she says.
The foundation, established about a year after Arbery’s death, is dedicated to helping Black boys and teens, ages 10 to 18, by creating safe spaces where they can “run free and be themselves.” It also offers scholarships and mental health resources.
“Ahmaud dealt with mental health challenges, which is one reason he liked to run,” Cooper-Jones says.
The foundation has already awarded $72,000 in scholarships – $12,000 apiece to six students at Brunswick High School. “Our requirements are a 2.5 GPA, they must be registered to vote, and they must do 15 hours of community service,” she says. “I wanted this scholarship to be available to whoever needed it, not just the kids with the highest grades. The point is to get them excited about positive things.”
In May, the AAF partnered with the Atlanta Track Club for a 5K run/walk in Centennial Olympic Park. Organizers of this inaugural event plan to make it an annual celebration of Arbery’s life and of the act of running. The event, which kicked off the Adidas Atlanta City Games, drew 4,000 participants and raised $200,000, according to organizers. “That showed me people have not forgotten,” says Cooper-Jones.