Mark Zuckerberg And Priscilla Chan Gives $1.2M To Help Create More Black Higher Education Executives

Waist-up view of young cheerful African American student woman smiling with backpack and folder while using her mobile phone in the city street. Black young people concept.

A 2023 report from the American Council on Education revealed that leadership in higher education was overwhelmingly white and male. 77.2 percent of college and university presidents were White while Black people made up just 13.6 percent of college or university presidents.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his philanthropist wife, Priscilla Chan is aiming to close the chasm with a substantial gift of $1.2M to foster the next generation of HBCU higher education leaders. The funds will go toward the HBCU Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) at Clark Atlanta University to help expand ELI’s curriculum. The program offers micro-credentials to help aspiring education leaders obtain the tools to prepare for a career in the space.

“When we started this idea of training, supporting, and advocating for HBCU leaders, we knew we had an uphill battle, but we also knew it was critical work,” said Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, Executive Director, HBCU ELI at CAU and 18th President of Bennett College in a news release. “It is because of the continued support of sponsors, like The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, that we can welcome new Fellows and invest in the future of our institutions as well as the students who rely on HBCUs to thrive.”

ELI requires applicants to have a minimum of ten (10) years in higher education or related field, with at least three (3) years in Dean-level or equivalent leadership positions and a strong recommendation from current or past supervisors, or senior institutional leaders.

“In today’s rapidly evolving world of higher education, effective leadership is paramount to ensuring that all HBCUs achieve – and sustain— success,” said Dr. George T. French, Jr., President, Clark Atlanta University in a news release. “We are grateful to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for their partnership as ELI continues to cultivate Fellows and help our HBCUs prosper.”

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