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.

Historically Black Morgan State University in Baltimore has received funding from Ripple, a leading Silicon Valley financial technology company. The fund will underwrite a five-year academic partnership bringing advanced education and research programs to the university. This partnership adds Morgan State to the select number of institutions participating in Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative. Through Morgan State’s Center for Study of Blockchain and FinTech Innovation, the new program will support the development of specialized curricula, expansion of academic courses, hosting of conferences, and awarding of scholarships to faculty and students pursuing work in blockchain, cryptocurrency, digital payments, and related topics. The Center will also serve as a funding hub for other HBCUs seeking to develop their own FinTech initiatives.

Cummins Inc. has given a $1.48 million grant to the National Society of Black Engineers to establish the Cummins-NSBE Integrated Pipeline Program (IPP). The program includes scholarship grants and academic and professional development support for select NSBE collegiate members beginning in their sophomore year. The grant will provide resources to increase the success of the students’ universities in retaining and graduating engineering majors from groups underrepresented in the field. The program’s overarching goal is to increase the pool of diverse engineering talent entering the U.S. industrial workforce.

Historically Black Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina has partnered with the State Employees Credit Union Foundation to provide up to $100,000 in grants for students in the university’s healthcare management program. The program is available to seniors in the healthcare management program who must complete an unpaid semester-long internship as part of their graduation requirements.

Historically Black Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida, has received a $100,000 gift from the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund to support the establishment of the first Honors College at the educational institution. The college intends for its Honors College to support the enhancement of Edward Waters College’s overall competitive profile and serve as a vehicle for recruiting and retaining more high achieving and academically gifted students.

The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania in partnership with the minority-owned recruiting marketing platform, The Whether, has established the Mary Ellen Pleasant Entrepreneur Fellowship program as a part of a $775,000 Innovations in Career Advising grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The 10-week virtual fellowship will allow selected HBCU students the opportunity to build a peer advising startup during the 2019 semester with the help of The Whether’s virtual business and marketing-focused curriculum and their scientifically-validated Clarity Assessment. The fellows will be responsible for introducing the assessment on campus to professors, student organizations, and individuals. Fellows can earn up to $2,500 based on the metrics and feedback from their campus community.

A group of researchers from Saint Louis University has received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Policies for Action program to evaluate the effects of racial equity and social justice initiatives on policy nationwide. In recent years, local governments across American have adopted equity tools to identify racial disparities in their communities, but there has been no research on whether the adoption of these tools have resulted in actual changes in local policies and laws. The research team will work with developers of these equity tools to identify characteristics of the cities and counties that have adopted the tools and assess their stages of readiness for changes in law and policy.

The department of natural science at historically Black Bowie State University in Maryland has received a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to support eight students in a nine-week, hands-on research program with a Bowie State professor and scientists from Egerton University and the University of Kenya. The students will have the opportunity to work alongside professional researchers in Kenya to uncover potential health benefits of native African plants.

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