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Spelman Receives $2 Million Gift From the Karsh Family Foundation to Support KIPP Schools Graduates' Success in College Share a Spelman College Press Release

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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:

Audrey Arthur
Spelman College
Twitter: @SpelmanMedia

KarshKipp ImageATLANTA (February 15, 2018) - Spelman College is pleased to announce a $2 million gift from the Karsh Family Foundation. The gift will fund annual and endowed scholarships that support graduates of the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) schools, a nationwide network of open enrollment, college-preparatory public charter schools. Spelman is grateful for the consistent support of Bruce and Martha Karsh, whose first gift to Spelman was in 2012.

At the time of their first gift, Spelman became a KIPP College Partner, an alliance with KIPP Schools that is designed to identify strategies that can be implemented by colleges and universities to help close the achievement gap for first-generation college students and students of color. The KIPP College Partners program highlights KIPP’s commitment to the entire educational journey of their students and to a choice-filled life.

"Financial support and strategic partnerships are critical to delivering the Spelman Promise — preparing students for life and career and ensuring that all Spelman women graduate with a competitive edge,” said Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.

“The partnership between Spelman and KIPP supports our goal of guaranteeing more students not only get into college, but succeed in college and beyond. The generous gift from Martha and Bruce Karsh will help make a Spelman education more affordable and expand the number of high-achieving scholars the college is able to support. We applaud the Karshes’ longstanding commitment to educational excellence."

The Karshes are passionate about college access and affordability. “We believe that quality education is the rising tide that lifts all boats — the best, and perhaps only, way to ‘heal the world.’ We are especially proud to partner with Spelman which offers an extraordinary opportunity for some of our brightest KIPP women: the very best in higher education along with a history, sisterhood and network that is unparalleled.”

The Karsh KIPP award will be funded in four annual installments of $500,000 each, beginning June 2018. Only KIPP alumnae are eligible to receive the award. To qualify to be a KIPP alumnae, students must have completed 8th grade at a KIPP middle school or be a KIPP student who is expected to graduate from a KIPP high school.

There are nearly 90,000 students enrolled in KIPP. The non-profit network of 209 tuition-free, college-preparatory, public charter schools is educating early childhood, elementary, middle and high school students. Spelman has committed to providing work-study opportunities for Karsh KIPP Scholars per cohort, as well as offering the recipients access to faculty and student advisors as part of their undergraduate experience.

“The KIPP Karsh Scholarship has given me the resources to take full advantage of every opportunity that comes my way at Spelman,” said Nzali Scales, C’2019, a sociology major who plans a career as a college professor. “Without having to stress about my financial situation each semester, I am able to focus on my academics and extracurricular activities. This scholarship has also allowed me to tap into my KIPP network on the collegiate level, which has been beneficial.”

About the Karsh Family Foundation
Founded in 1998 by Bruce A. Karsh, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, and his wife, Martha L. Karsh, attorney, designer and writer, the Karsh Family Foundation focuses on educational philanthropy. To date, the Foundation has made grants and pledges of over $200 million to support education and scholarship at all levels.  Their largest gifts have been for financial aid at Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, Spelman College, Brown University, and Virginia Law School, as well as major grants to KIPP and Teach for America.

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman; Starbucks Group President and COO Rosalind Brewer, Broadway producer Alia Jones, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna President Audrey Forbes Manley, Harvard professor Evelynn Hammonds, author Pearl Cleage and actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson. For more information, visit


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