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 MacGregor Community Development Corporation of Houston, Texas, has established an endowment scholarship of $100,000 at historically Black Dillard University in New Orleans in honor of their founding president, James J. Smith, a 1964 graduate of Dillard University. The MacGregor Community Development Corporation is a non-profit community development organization whose mission is to improve the livability of the historic Third Ward neighborhood of Houston by transforming vacant, deteriorated, and nuisance real estate properties into new and improved family homes and spaces for small businesses. Smith continues to serve as its president on a voluntary basis. The endowment scholarship will support male freshmen from Houston or Ascension Parish,  Louisiana, whose families have low to moderate household incomes.

Historically Black Fayetteville State University in North Carolina recently received a five-year, $423,487 grant from NASA’s Office of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Engagement’s Minority University Research and Education Project to conduct free, two-week, residential summer camps aimed at preparing high school students — especially under-represented/underserved students — for success in college STEM degree programs and encourage STEM-related careers.

The University of the District of Columbia has received a $2 million commitment from Pepco over the next three years. Pepco is a unit of Exelon, the nation’s largest utility company, serving more than 10 million customers. Pepco provides energy services to approximately 919,000 customers in the District of Columbia and Maryland. The Pepco award is the largest corporate grant in UDC’s history. The funds will create the Pepco Power Scholars Program. With the support of the university, Pepco will select rising sophomores majoring in engineering, computer science, finance, and other related four-year program majors. The scholarships will include full tuition and housing for the scholars’ remaining three years at the university. In addition, the Pepco Power Scholars will benefit from summer internships, career mentors, peer networking, and additional preparation for full-time entry-level positions with Pepco.

Pennsylvania State University received a $4,960,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help increase food production for smallholder farmers who face pests and diseases of their crops across sub-Saharan Africa. The research project, called Delphi, will create a modeling platform that can be used by researchers globally to improve the speed and accuracy of efforts to identify emerging threats. The United Nations estimates that each year, 20 percent to 40 percent of global crop production is lost to plant pests and diseases, with some of the highest rates of loss occurring in sub-Sahraran Africa.

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