Southern Co. provides $50M for HBCU students initative
February 2020
In January, Southern Company and its subsidiaries announced a $50 million multi-year initiative to provide students attending historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with scholarships, internships, leadership development, and access to technology and innovation to support career readiness. Students attending certain HBCUs within Southern Company’s service territory in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia are eligible for this initiative.

“This investment is a statement of our belief that America needs these HBCU graduates in order to ensure a thriving economy for generations to come,” said Tom Fanning, chairman, president and CEO, Southern Company. “We invite others to partner with us to create the scholarships, internships, and opportunities to train the leaders of tomorrow.”

To support HBCU students in pursuit of their academic goals, additional partners are needed to join in support with matching gifts. 

HBCUs have a longstanding tradition of graduating compelling and impactful leaders. Founded before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, HBCUs were created, primarily, to provide African Americans with high-quality education and skills development when laws prohibited them from being admitted to predominantly white colleges and universities. As a result, HBCUs have become incubators for innovative and bold leadership.

The legacy of HBCUs includes pioneering leaders like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Morehouse); Alice Walker (Spelman College); George Washington Carver (Tuskegee Institute); and many others. With an influx of support, HBCUs can grow this legacy by ensuring students have the resources and support they need to not only to graduate, but to excel.

“Southern Company’s initiative is a tribute to the legacy of HBCUs as difference-makers for the American workforce. With this investment, we aim to foster a generation of graduates ready to disrupt industries and offer solutions to address the needs of our changing world,” said Chris Womack, executive vice president and president of external affairs, Southern Company.

Southern Company’s $50-million HBCU initiative is envisioned as a leadership development platform. It seeks to provide funding for programs that address four priorities necessary for producing HBCU graduates who are ready to become innovative leaders:
  • Provide critical scholarship dollars to ensure talented students can attend
  • Equip HBCU students with access to new technology and train them to use the technology to solve real-world problems;
  • Expose HBCU students to curricula, mentoring, and pathways to funding that increase their access to entrepreneurship; and
  • Develop a corporate pipeline for leadership and career development, beginning with internships provided by Southern Company and corporate partners, to create avenues to prosperity.
Southern Company will provide further details on this competitive program by May 1, 2020. The first round of funding will be awarded in time for the academic year beginning in fall 2021. Read the original press release here​.