HBCUs to Get $50M Jolt from South’s Leading Energy Company

The Southern Co. this week announced a $50 million multi-year initiative to provide scholarships, internships, leadership development and other benefits to students attending historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The announcement, made Tuesday, detailed plans to help HBCU students within the company’s footprint, which includes Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina.

“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 Thomas A. Fanning, chairman, president and CEO, Southern Co. “We invite others to partner with us to create the scholarships, internships, and opportunities to train the leaders of tomorrow.”

HBCUs have a longstanding tradition of graduating compelling and impactful leaders. Founded before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, they were created, primarily, to provide African Americans with high quality education and skills development when laws prohibited them from being admitted at predominantly white colleges and universities. Their legacy includes pioneering leaders like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Morehouse); Alice Walker (Spelman College); George Washington Carver (Tuskegee Institute), and many others.

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Southern Co.’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 and complete college;
  • 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 Co. and corporate partners, to create avenues to prosperity.

Further details will be released by May 1. The first round of funding will be awarded in time for the academic year beginning in fall 2021.

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