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Mastercard to Partner with Spelman and Leading HBCUs to Further Black Economic Inclusion Efforts Share a Spelman College Press Release


Jazmyn Burton
Spelman College

Mastecard Gift to Spelman and Morehouse for Black Entreprenuer Center

ATLANTA (September 25, 2021) -- Mastercard today announced a $5 million grant to support the forthcoming Center for Black Entrepreneurship.

Established in partnership with the Black Economic Alliance Foundation, and located on the campuses of Spelman and Morehouse, the CBE will serve as an incubator for high-potential, Black owned start-ups, and a new generation of Black entrepreneurial talent.

The grant will fund new adjunct faculty, the creation of an online entrepreneurship program and support the development of experiential courses that will enable students to put their classroom instruction into practice.

“We are excited by the possibility of building an entrepreneurship curriculum within our outstanding department of economics” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman. “Through the support of Mastercard, the College will be able to build curricular and co-curricular strength that encourages and supports AUC students intent on the creation and sustainability of new businesses that will ultimately create  wealth within our communities.”

The philanthropic funding, delivered by the Mastercard Impact Fund, is part of Mastercard’s $500 million, five-year commitment to advance racial equity and economic opportunity through city programs to support Black communities, affordable financial tools and services and expanding access to capital and resources for Black-owned businesses.

“For over a century, HBCUs have played a critical role in nurturing professional talent and creating economic mobility in Black communities,” said Salah Goss, senior vice president for social impact at the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. “By investing in HBCUs, Mastercard is intentionally choosing key institutions who we believe can be catalytic in furthering our commitment to ensuring that the digital economy works for the Black community, and for everyone, everywhere.”

The investment from Mastercard was designed to have a catalytic impact on economic growth for Black communities and builds on Mastercard’s commitment to bolstering employee recruitment and HBCU programming through new and expanded partnerships with HBCUs and in collaboration with the Congressional HBCU Caucus. 

While HBCUs make up three percent of American colleges and universities, they produce 25% of Black STEM graduates. The power of their alumni networks and scholarship combined with the cultural and historical significance they possess uniquely position them to drive inclusive growth within the Black community.

With increased funding, HBCUs will be able to scale the already critical role they play in helping to train and develop the next generation of Black entrepreneurs and innovators. The research supported by these grants will also generate actionable insights for policymakers, private sector leaders, and civil society seeking to leverage data science to advance racial equity and inclusive growth. 

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. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 54 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 24 for undergraduate teaching, No. 4 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 15th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and collaborations have been established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones. For more information, visit Spelman College.


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