6 donations that are driving campus diversity

Recent gifts support scholarships, career services and professional development for underrepresented students and faculty
By: | October 2, 2020
A $1 million gift will provide high-impact scholarships to 20 Hispanic and Black students each year for the next four years at Wichita State University.A $1 million gift will provide high-impact scholarships to 20 Hispanic and Black students each year for the next four years at Wichita State University.

Diversity, equity and inclusion have gotten big boosts on several campuses where recent donations have provided underrepresented students with new financial aid, academic counseling and career initiatives.

Other donations will support professional development for Black and other underrepresented faculty.

Here a look at how philanthropic commitments have supported the racial justice movement at seven colleges and universities:

Wichita State University (Kansas): More than half of a $1 million gift will provide high-impact scholarships to 20 Hispanic and Black students each year for the next four years. Wichita State is matching the donation in full.


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The donation will also fund mentoring and tutoring services for scholarship recipients and allow them to participate in the university’s Microenterprises Program.

It will also help the university diversity its faculty and admissions.

Hamilton College (New York): A fundraising campaign for diversity, equity and inclusion has raised $165,000 since May.

The Dean of Students Office will determine which initiatives receive funding with recommendations from the college’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council.

Union College (New York): Alumni pledged nearly $100,000 to support the Academic Opportunity Program to provide academic counseling and financial aid to out-of-state students from first-generation and low-income backgrounds.

The university will also assign a mentor to all students in the program.


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North Central College (Illinois): The college’s first-generation program, Cardinal First, received a $100,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation.

New initiatives include outreach to future first-generation college students at 10 Illinois high schools; a webinar series or parents of first-generation students; and launch of the Cardinal First Alumni Academy.

Approximately 40% of the college’s 3,000 students are first-generation.

Loyola University New Orleans (Louisiana): The university received its first TRIO-Student Success Support Services grant to expand services for low-income, first-generation and students with disabilities.

About 55% of the university’s students in fall 2018 were first-generation, received Pell grants or were eligible for accommodations.

The university’s Pan-American Life Student Success Center will provide additional academic tutoring, coaching and advising; information on financial aid programs; assistance in completing financial aid applications; wellness resources; and support for applying to graduate school programs.

The grant will support 140 students over the next five years.


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California Institute of the Arts: The Charles Gaines Faculty Chair, made possible by a $5 million gift from philanthropist Eileen Harris Norton, support professional development for Black and other underrepresented faculty members.

The funding will support research, creative activities and curriculum innovation.

The initiative’s namesake, artist and faculty member Charles Gaines, will be the first to hold the chair.