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$1M in Grants from AEP Foundation to Historically Black Colleges and Universities

by on August 3, 2021
SWEPCO President Malcolm Smoak, third from the right, and Director of Grid Modenrization Henry Brown, far right, present representatives of three historically black colleges in SWEPCO”s serice territory $250,000 each as part of the AEP Foundation’s Delivering on the Dream: Social and Racial Justice Program. A fourth college in Bluefield, Vigirnia also received $250,000. 

The American Electric Power Foundation has awarded $1 million in grants to four historically black colleges and universities. Three of the four institutions are in communities served by SWEPCO – Southern University in Shreveport Foundation in Shreveport, La., Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, and Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas. The fourth is Bluefield State College in Bluefield, W.Va., served by Appalachian Power.

The gifts are part of the foundation’s Delivering on the Dream: Social and Racial Justice grant program, which is a five-year, $5 million commitment to fund organizations with programs dedicated to advancing social and racial justice in communities served by American Electric Power. The company is encouraging its workforce to make personal commitments as allies and to act as catalysts for change.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion continue to be critical components of our company culture, but the past year has proven we still have work to do, both at AEP and in our communities,” said Janelle Coleman, vice president, Philanthropy and Community Engagement, and president of the AEP Foundation. “The Delivering on the Dream grant program puts our words into action. AEP and its Foundation are proud to partner with these organizations dedicated to empowering equity for our customers, neighbors and employees of color.”

The Southern University at Shreveport Foundation will use the $250,000 grant to create the STEM Academy to provide academic credits, hands-on experience and scholarships to encourage both high school students and adults of color to pursue a career in a STEM field. The Academy will have a track for high school dual enrollment students and for unemployed or underemployed adults.

“Bluefield State College is profoundly grateful for the very timely and substantial support of the American Electric Power Foundation,” said Robin Capehart, president of BSC. “The $250,000 grant awarded to the BSC Foundation will enable our College to enhance educational opportunities for minority students through STEM education. The American Electric Power Delivering on the Dream grant will dramatically elevate the career trajectory of many promising minority students at Bluefield State College.”

Wiley College will utilize the $250,000 gift to improve its STEM academic program, including renovating its science building, updating the campus internet network and improving its STEM curriculum. The grant also will help update campus safety and security through lighting and emergency communication enhancements.

Jarvis Christian College will use the funds to develop and implement a Summer Science Academy for 9th to 12th graders to expand the pipeline of minority students who pursue STEM degrees at the college.

“These grants from the AEP Foundation will enable SUSLA, Wiley College and Jarvis Christian College to expand their STEM programming, creating more opportunities for minority students to excel in school and beyond,” said Malcolm Smoak, president and chief operating officer of SWEPCO, that provides funding to the AEP Foundation. “SWEPCO also is dedicated to building brighter futures for the communities where we live and work and remains committed to advancing justice and equity for our neighbors of color.”

The other organizations to receive funds include: the YWCA Columbus, the Delta Dental of Virginia Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, and Youth Services of Tulsa.

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