By Carolyn Chin
Longtime AAJA member Joe Grimm, formerly a recruiter for the Detroit Free Press, donated $10,000 to AAJA as an annual scholarship endowment. Grimm’s donation was made in memory of Vincent Chin and his deceased mother, Lily, who never saw justice for her son’s death.
Last year, Grimm donated $3,500 to AAJA, and his former company, Gannett Co., added a $3,300 donation, Grimm said. Grimm received AAJA’s Leadership in Diversity award at the 2005 Convention in Minneapolis.
Grimm’s donation and scholarship is not connected to AAJA’s existing Vincent Chin Scholarship, which was not given out this year due to lack of funding, according to Nao Vang, AAJA student programs coordinator. Grimm said he also expects to donate money next year, making the endowment at least $20,000, plus interest.
In a note sent to AAJA National President Sharon Chan, Grimm stated that the money is meant to be used only for student scholarships and not toward financial operations.
“If AAJA can’t give scholarships, then I’d want to move the money somewhere else,” said Grimm in an interview.
Chan announced the donation at today’s Advisory Board meeting, noting that regardless of difficult financial times, people still care about the organization and its mission.
Grimm said he has mulled the idea to donate money for a Vincent Chin scholarship to AAJA in the past few years. Chin’s slaying in 1982 is considered a linchpin moment in the pan-Asian American movement.
Grimm writes the “Ask the Recruiter” column for the Poynter Institute and is a visiting editor-in-residence at the Michigan State University School of Journalism.