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 Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas, received a $2.5 million donation from an anonymous donor, which is the largest gift from an individual in the college’s 134-year history. The donation will help fund the college’s Generational Access and Affordability Program. The initiative is designed to eradicate socio-economic barriers that impact access to higher education.

The University of Minnesota received a $615,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the university’s Mapping Prejudice project. An initiative of the University of Minnesota Libraries, Mapping Prejudice started in 2016 by using volunteers to document racial covenants — the clauses that were inserted into property deeds to keep anyone who was not White from buying or occupying certain pieces of land.

Historically Black Fort Valley State University in Georgia received a grant of nearly $2 million from the U.S. Department of Justice to advance school safety under the STOP School Violence Act. The money will be used for programs and equipment to bolster the safety of students and staff.

Jackson State University, a historically Black educational institution in Mississippi, and historically Black Florida A&M University, each received a five-year, $150,000 grant from the Brown Foundation Community Development Corporation, the philanthropic arm of  The P3 Group, Inc., the largest African American-owned real-estate development firm in the United States. The funds will be used for scholarships to full-time students who demonstrate a financial need that can’t be met by other scholarships and financial aid.

Historically Black Alcorn State University in Mississippi received a $350,000 donation from Dennis Thomas, the commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and an alumnus of Alcorn State. The gift is the largest donation from an alumnus in school history. It will establish an endowed scholarship fund that will support students from his hometown, Heidelberg, Mississippi.

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