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FedEx Launches Initiative To Assist HBCUs: What You Need To Know

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Phil Hall
·2 min read
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FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) has announced a $5-million initiative to assist four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Mississippi and Tennessee.

What Happened: Memphis-headquartered FedEx will collaborate with Tennessee State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi Valley State University and LeMoyne-Owen College on workforce preparation endeavors.

Each school will receive $1 million, with the remaining funds divided among the schools to be used for relief support for students, faculty and staff who have been economically impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This new initiative continues a longstanding relationship between FedEx and the four HBCUs.

Earlier endeavors have included endowed scholarships at Jackson State University, Tennessee State University and LeMoyne-Owen College, a customized career readiness program established at Mississippi Valley State University, and leadership summits in support of the Southern Heritage Classic for students at Tennessee State University and Jackson State University.

"With many students and families struggling right now as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our hope is that this timely investment will help keep more students in school and provide future access to leadership, educational and employment opportunities," Judy Edge, corporate vice president of human resources at FedEx, said in a statement.

"This contribution further deepens our commitment to creating more equitable communities by breaking down barriers to work and making a sustainable, long-term impact on underrepresented groups."

Why It Matters: HBCUs are traditionally smaller institutions with a history of struggling for funding while educating student bodies that are disproportionately from lower-income households.

And remote learning was not an option for everyone: Pew Research Center found in 2019 that only 66% of Black households had broadband internet service.

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) estimated that more than 70% of students attending HBCUs are low-income, compared to 35% to 40% nationally.

Brian Bridges, vice president of research and member engagement for the UNCF, told NBC News: "COVID-19 is exacerbating, or at least reinforcing, how much of a divide there is between the haves and have-nots."

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