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Company announces $50 million initiative for HBCU students

Initiative aims to ignite giving from additional corporate partners

OW Staff Writer | 2/13/2020, midnight

Southern Company and its subsidiaries has 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. This initiative will provide support for students attending select HBCUs within the Southern Company system’s service footprint in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina.

The first round of funding will be awarded in time for the academic year beginning in fall 2021. Further details on this competitive program will be announced by May 1, 2020.

“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 of Southern Company. “We invite others to partner with us to create the scholarships, internships, and opportunities to train the leaders of tomorrow.”

Southern Company acknowledges that building the talent pipeline at HBCUs cannot be done by one corporation. 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 at 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 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, company executive vice president and president of external affairs.

Southern Company is a leading energy company serving 9 million customers through its subsidiaries. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation and a low-carbon future, Southern Company and its subsidiaries develop customized energy solutions.