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.

Southern University alumnus and Southern University System Foundation trustee Irving Matthews has donated $1 million to the historically Black university to expand programming creating the Southern University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center. The gift will also provide seed funding for the construction of a new state-of-the-art 14,000 square foot building that will house the Center’s operations.

Spelman College, a liberal arts educational institution for Black women in Atlanta, received a $7.5 million donation from the Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation. The donation will fund the establishment of the Diana King Endowed Professors in Film and Filmmaking, Television, and Related Media. The gift will endow a scholarship program for junior applicants and rising seniors enrolled in Spelman’s documentary film program.

Mark Vergnano, CEO of global chemistry company The Chemours Company, and his wife Betsy have made a $3 million donation to the School of Engineering at the University of Connecticut for programs to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups in STEM fields. The Vergnano Institute for Inclusion will build upon the school’s previous work to provide students from underrepresented groups from kindergarten through college with more exposure to different STEM career options, mentorship opportunities, access to scholarships, training, and other career development resources.

Tampax has announced a four-year, $800,000 scholarship program for Black women at historically Black colleges and universities who are pursuing degrees in health care fields. The Flow It Forward Scholarship Program from the tampon and feminine products brand, created in partnership with Procter & Gamble’s $5 million Take on Race Fund, is meant to aid in bringing about equal representation in health care. The United Negro College Fund will administer the scholarship program. The scholarship has two groupings. It’s supplying money to Carmichael Scholars within the pre-med program at Xavier University in Louisiana specifically (nine have been chosen), but also providing funding for students pursuing any degree in the health care field attending an HBCU within the UNCF network.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore is donating $6 million to Tennessee-based Fisk University and four civil rights organizations. The gifts come at the close of a 40-year pro bono battle in which generations of Cravath lawyers since 1983 have represented African American and women workers in an employment discrimination case in Alabama. Fisk University will receive $3 million, which it will use for building and infrastructure improvements.

Historically Black Delaware State University received two grants totaling $200,000 from Verizon. The first grant will support the university’s eSports Tech Center and computer science program. The second $100,000 will provide scholarships to five women students as part of the company’s effort to increase female representation in the gaming industry as well as bolster their opportunities and presence in STEM careers.

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