John A. Kouns (1929-2019): Social Justice Activist and Photojournalist
In 2021, Anne Baele gifted $500,000 to 10,000 Degrees in honor of her late husband, social justice activist and photojournalist, John A. Kouns (1929–2019), who famously documented the United Farm Workers movement and the Civil Rights Movement.
With the gift, 10,000 Degrees established the John A. Kouns Memorial Scholarship to support first-generation college students who identify as Black, LatinX or Indigenous with scholarships and college success support.
Anne, a loyal donor to 10,000 Degrees since 2007, chose 10,000 Degrees as the beneficiary because it was important to her that a gift from John’s estate hold a direct connection to his social activism and closely held values of promoting equity in society through education.
John’s lifetime of work included documenting the 1963 civil rights march in Washington D.C., seminal events in Birmingham and Selma, Alabama, and the Freedom School in Mississippi. He also participated in the march led by Cesar Chavez from Delano to Sacramento (300 miles) to protest working conditions in front of the legislature and Governor.
John created 20 portable exhibits to promote United Farm Workers campaigns and traveled with the exhibits to supermarkets, schools, labor halls, colleges and churches to educate the public.
After John’s death in 2019, Paul F. Chavez, president of the Cesar Chavez Foundation said “John’s legacy lives on through his beautiful photography that captured the spirit of our struggle during its most difficult times. He was always very generous in sharing his labors to help advance our work.”
To learn more about ways to make a future impact for students from low-income backgrounds, like Anne and John have, visit the 10,000 Degrees Planned Giving website.