Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, founder of the Giving Pledge charity, has been looking to donate her considerable wealth to worthy causes. Among the charities and institutions where she has donated money are a number of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), including Howard University and Tuskegee University.
Ms. Scott donated $40 million to Howard University, the single largest donation the school has ever received. Howard plans to put this money to use supporting students and funding its signature financial aid program, the Graduation & Retention Access to Continued Excellence or GRACE Grant. This program, created in 2014, gives matching funding to Pell grant recipients and additional support to students with an expected family contribution (EFC) of $0, and has been successful at retaining low-income students throughout their years at Howard. The University will also invest part of Ms. Scott’s donation into improving campus infrastructure and increasing the quality of their education.
Tuskegee University received $20 million from Ms. Scott, and plans to use the funds to support student scholarships, increase student access and preserve the university’s legacy. The president of Tuskegee University, Lily D. McNair, envisions the donation helping to accelerate the historic school into the modern era.
These donations come at a time where colleges are in more need of funding than ever, with the coronavirus pandemic putting economic pressure on both institutions and their students. Now more students may be able to receive scholarships for HBCUs thanks to Ms. Scott’s generous gifts.
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