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.

Clemson University in South Carolina received a $3,445,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the creation of a Black Heritage Trail on campus and in the cities of Seneca and Clemson. The Black Heritage Trail will feature walking trails that connect heritage sites with interactive signs, artwork, and digital content that share the stories of local Black history and South Carolina historical markers at significant historic sites. The Black Heritage Trail project on the Clemson campus will be led by Rhondda Thomas, the Calhoun Lemon Professor of Literature and the faculty director of the Call My Name research project, which for more than 15 years has researched and shared the stories of Black people throughout Clemson University history through books, tours, exhibits and more. Professor Thomas holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia, a master’s degree in literature from the University of New Hampshire, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Maryland.

Historically Black North Carolina Central University received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to train teachers to work with special-needs children. Thirty-two teacher candidates will earn a teaching license in a special education-adapted or general curriculum, as well as training to improve the outcomes of students who have high-intensity needs in the classroom. High-intensity needs include a complex array of disabilities, including significant cognitive, physical or sensory disabilities, significant autism, or significant emotional or learning disabilities, including dyslexia. This population also includes students with disabilities that require intensive, individualized interventions.

Coppin State University, the historically Black educational institution in Baltimore, received a $3.9 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration that will be used to fund a collaborative broadband internet pilot program that will improve connectivity and access for economically disadvantaged and underserved communities in Baltimore. Coppin State University students will be recruited to become Digital Navigators who will help low-income community members locate affordable broadband services and devices. They will also assist community members with learning to use broadband-enabled technology to foster greater digital inclusion. Nearly 30 percent of households in West Baltimore are without a computer. In addition, roughly 46 percent of households are without a broadband subscription.

The Toro Company is joining with the Atlanta University Center Consortium and its dual degree engineering program to expand opportunities for Black students to pursue careers in engineering. The Toro Company, headquartered in Bloomington, Minnesota, has committed $375,000 to fund scholarships for engineering students from Atlanta University Center Consortium member institutions. The grant includes financial assistance for tuition and indirect costs associated with student scholarships. In addition to scholarships, the company will provide paid internship opportunities for students in the dual degree engineering program to gain deeper experiences across its many businesses.

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