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 College of education at American University in Washington, D.C., received a $5 million grant from JP Morgan Chase to support the PEDALS program that aims to increase access to education, training, and financial support for Black and Latina women pursuing careers in early childhood education. The grant will support the establishment of a credential program by starting with a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential and ending with a bachelor’s degree. “Most personnel in early childhood education in the district are women of color,” said Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, dean of the School of Education at American University. “They work in early childhood education working in childcare centers at a very low wage and often can’t even support their own families. We hope to have graduated about 300 D.C. residents, and the majority of them women, with their CDA credential.” Trinity Washington University is a partner in the program.

Four HBCUs in South Carolina – Allen University, Benedict College, Claflin University, and South Carolina State University – are each receiving $1 million grants from Dominion Energy. Among other things, the grants will be used to expand computer and engineering programs, lab updates, and faculty hiring. “Every student deserves access to equitable education, and we’re proud to do our part by partnering with HBCUs in the Palmetto State on various initiatives, including the HBCU Promise,” Keller Kissam, president of Dominion Energy South Carolina said. “This commitment helps us to cultivate a diverse workforce so that our future leaders will look more like the communities we serve throughout our great state.”

The Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center, the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Medical University of South Carolina Hollings Cancer Center are sharing a $3 million grant aimed at reducing the disparity in lung cancer that affects African Americans. Black men develop lung cancer at a higher rate than any other ethnic group. Through research, the centers hope to develop better methods for identifying those at the highest risk for lung cancer and increase cancer screenings. The cancer centers will partner with federally qualified health centers to promote screenings in Black communities.

Historically Black Tuskegee University in Alabama received a six-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant will fund 92 scholarships to 23 full-time students who are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. First-year students will receive up to four years of scholarship support. The project aims to increase student persistence in STEM fields by linking scholarships with practical support activities, including mentoring, undergraduate research experiences, service learning, outreach projects, and discipline-specific conferences.

The University of the District of Columbia, a historically Black educational institution, received a $200,000 gift from the Leonsis Foundation and Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the ownership group of the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, the NHL’s Washington Capitals, and the Capital One Arena. This gift will launch the Dr. Edwin Bancroft Henderson Memorial Fund Campaign with a goal to raise $2 million to support capital upgrades to the university’s sports complex, student scholarships, and sports camps for youth.

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