Blackstone Charitable Foundation Commits $2 Million To Four Historically Black Colleges and Universities in North Carolina and Maryland
October 18, 2022 – The Blackstone Charitable Foundation today announced that it has committed $2 million to expand access to its entrepreneurial skill-building program, Blackstone LaunchPad, to all students at four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Blackstone LaunchPad equips students with skills to better prepare them on their professional journeys, whether they decide to build their own business or work within an organization. Last year, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s announced a $40 million commitment to further expand Blackstone LaunchPad to Minority Serving Institutions and community colleges and reach more students, particularly those who may otherwise not have access to these opportunities.
Blackstone LaunchPad’s campus-based programming and national network will provide students at Morgan State University, Bowie State University, North Carolina A&T University, and North Carolina Central University with the resources and opportunities to support their entrepreneurial endeavors and career readiness.
“We are thrilled to partner with these schools and welcome their talented students into our community,” said Maura Pally, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “We hope that all students will engage with Blackstone LaunchPad and walk away with an expanded network and key entrepreneurial skills that will set them up for success in any career or venture they pursue.”
“Bowie State University is thankful for the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s recognition of and investment in the excellence of HBCUs,” said Aminta H. Breaux, President of Bowie State University. “The Blackstone LaunchPad partnership at BSU will support many initiatives and programs already planned or implemented in our growing entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
“We are thankful for this new collaboration with the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, as it builds upon the great work we’ve already done to expose our gifted students to embracing innovative ideas and developing an entrepreneurial mindset,” said David K. Wilson, President of Morgan State University. “In leveraging the generous resources made available through the foundation, we look to further our student’s business acumen and creative approach to problem solving as they develop and launch the businesses of the future.”
“We want to show students how the entrepreneurial mindset isn’t just about starting a business. It’s also about the ability to effectively solve problems and bring holistic value in the world,” said Antwon Foreman, an entrepreneurship instructor in A&T’s Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics who will serve as director of this program. “This funding will be used primarily to create programs and initiatives to increase entrepreneurial engagement with entrepreneurship competitions and possibly an entrepreneurship accelerator on campus as well.”
“The partnership between Blackstone Launchpad and NCCU CEED is critical to fulfilling CEED’s promise to be a champion for entrepreneurial activities within the university,” reflects Dr. Anthony Nelson, Dean of the NCCU School of Business. “This relationship grants us the ability to extend our resources by providing insight, guidance and support to students who aspire to own their own business.”
Blackstone LaunchPad will help cultivate student startup ideas and increase access to a pipeline of internship and job opportunities. Students will be able to participate in national programming such as pitch competitions, fellowships and bootcamps, where they will have opportunities to win cash prizes and build a lasting network of professional relationships.
Over the past year, Blackstone LaunchPad has expanded to six additional campuses in the University of Texas system, five Hispanic Serving Institutions and HBCUs, and nine schools in the City University of New York (CUNY) system. Blackstone LaunchPad is in 50 schools across the country and growing.
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