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.

South Carolina State University received more than $2.1 million from the estate of Retired Chief Warrant Officer Lamar W. Powell, a World War II and Korean War veteran whose philanthropy benefitted education at several institutions. The gift will support the university’s Student Success and Retention Center, a setting for academic assistance and other support, including a Veterans Support Center. Powell, who died in 2015 at age 97, grew up on a farm outside Liberty, Mississippi. After the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and then enlisted in the Army. He served 23 years before joining the U.S. State Department.

Historically Black Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, received a $1 million donation from Walls Fargo. Funding will provide student scholarships, experiential learning supporting entrepreneurship and small business ownership, student financial health education, and credit score development at the university.

Baylor University in Waco, Texas, received a $488,000 grant from the Eula Mae & John Baugh Foundation. The grant program under the direction of Greg Garrett, a professor of English at the university, will aim to expose harmful racial myths embedded in American culture and the good stories that could replace them in an extensive research project. The grant covers three years and will underwrite research support, study and writing sabbaticals, travel, collaborations with other scholars and theologians. Professor Garrett also will work with Baylor’s Truett Theological Seminary and its dean, Todd Still, to develop programs addressing race and the church.

The University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff, a historically Black educational institution, received a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. Researchers will produce a formal evaluation of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Wetland Reserve Easements program that allows landowners to cost-share with the federal government in converting their marginal or retired farmlands back to native wetland and associated habitats.

Morgan State University and Bowie State University, both historically Black universities in Maryland, will receive $200,000 over the next two years from Battelle Corporation that will provide research opportunities for students to progress from the classroom to employment.

Historically Black Fisk University in Nashville, received a two-year, $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the conservation of the Fisk Galleries collection and capacity building by improving infrastructure and providing additional staff. The added positions will support the continual refinement of the database management system and further expand the daily operations of the Galleries in order to make Fisk’s collection more accessible to students and members of the community.


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