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 Jackson State University in Mississippi recently received a $50,000 donation from the Charles Schwab Foundation that will help fund the Center of Excellence on Breastfeeding and Early Nutrition. Mary Shaw, chair of the department of behavioral and environmental health at the university stated that “our goal in creating this center is to focus on several areas that will support statewide maternal and child health initiatives aimed at improving infant health. One is education and training. The other is advocacy for breastfeeding, and the third is research that will make meaningful contributions to improve breastfeeding and early nutrition outcomes for infants in Mississippi and beyond.”

Tuskegee University, a historically Black educational institution in Alabama, received a four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to fund educational programs to prepare forest owners and extension professionals to serve their clients with forest carbon and climate issues. Tuskegee University will train forest owners to connect with peers and deliver the content they learned through the online program – consisting of 20-minute web-based training modules. The training modules will cover various issues, including climate change policy and impacts, carbon market structures, forest management under climate change, contract design, and tax implications. The peer education approach will be advanced through the National Woodland Owners Association and target minority landowners through the Women Owning Woodlands program and Tuskegee University Extension Services.

Historically Black North Carolina A&T State University received $23.7 million from American Rescue Plan funds to create STEPs4GROWTH, a clean energy workforce training program. The grant is single-largest award the university has received for research. STEPs4GROWTH will create quality, demand-driven training for the region’s growing clean energy sector. With a focus on equity, the program will use mobile training units in 16 economically distressed North Carolina counties to remove barriers to access and deliver training where workers are located. More than 40 employers – including Strata Clean Energy, Enviva, Siemens, Duke and Blue Ridge Power – have committed to hiring 3,000 STEPs4GROWTH trainees over four years, then 1,500 trainees every year afterward.

Morgan State University, the historically Black educational institution in Baltimore, received an $800,000 grant from the Crankstart Foundation that will be used to extend the funding for the Crankstart Reentry Scholarship program for an additional two years. In the first six years of Morgan’s Crankstart Reentry Scholarship Program, 54 nontraditional Morgan students have graduated, earning their degrees. “We are pleased to have the continued support of the Crankstart Foundation as we seek to increase the opportunities for more adult learners to earn a college degree. Through our partnership with the Foundation we have seen significant increases in the number of nontraditional students returning to and completing college,” said Nilajah Nyasuma Sims, acting director and scholarship administrator for the university’s Center for Continuing and Professional Studies.

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