Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Here is this week’s news of grants or gifts to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

The Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation has announced the recipients of the first round of grants awarded from its $15 million Racial Justice and Equity Fund. The Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis received a $250,000 grant to support its Faith & Action Project which seeks to reduce poverty in Marion County. Prairie View A&M University, the historically Black educational institution in Texas, received $500,000 for its Center for Race and Justice, which educates students and the public on combating racism and bias and trains inclusive leaders.

Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, received a $1 million anonymous donation for its new African-American studies program that will begin this fall. The gift will establish the Dolly A. McPherson Fund for African American Studies, which is named for the long-time professor of English at Wake Forest who made significant contributions to African American literary studies. Dr. McPherson, who died in 2011 at age 82, was the first Black woman to be a full-time faculty member at Wake Forest when she was hired in 1974.

Texas State University in San Marcos will receive $843,895 over the next five years from the National Science Foundation to support Black and Hispanic women entering science, technology, engineering, and math fields. Texas State will use the grant to study the effects of community wealth on minority women entering computing fields by studying their success in computing courses from eighth grade to undergraduate courses and how it translates to graduate studies or careers. The grant project is under the direction of Shetay Ashford-Hanserd, an assistant professor in the department of organization, workforce, and leadership studies.

Historically Black Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas, is the recipient of a three-year, $300,000 grant from Microsoft that will allow the college to participate in the companyʼs community skills grant program. The grant will provide funds to support the collegeʼs WISE P3 workforce development initiative.

Netflix founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings is donating $3 million to underwrite 20 full scholarships at Robert Morris University in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. The four-year scholarships — including money for room, board, and textbooks — will be earmarked for underrepresented groups and others who “demonstrate a commitment to empowering members of underrepresented groups, combating stereotypes, and enabling others to better understand persons of different races, ethnicities, or other traits.”

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