Mid-South business headlines: Historic, $40M LeMoyne-Owen endowment gift shines light on collegiate disparities

Mid-South business headlines: LeMoyne-Owen endowment gift shines light on collegiate disparities

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - We’re taking a look at the $40 million gift presented to Lemoyne-Owen College with Greg Akers, Editor-in-Chief of the Memphis Business Journal.

The HBCU received the endowment fund from the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis.

Akers said it kind of came in response to the killing of George Floyd in May.

“In June the CEO of Netflix and his wife gave $40 million each to Spelman and Morehouse Colleges, also historically Black colleges, and the Community Foundation saw that. And they had been wondering what they should do,” said Akers. “They have a lot of funding to give out, and they were wondering what they should do to try to help chip away at the long-term economic disparities that the Black community has... And when they saw that gift that the Netflix CEO did, they said, ‘well we have a historically Black college here, why don’t we give them that money.‘”

The president of the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis then reached out to the interim president of LeMoyne-Owen to be the beneficiary of the endowment fund.

The $40 million gift is the largest in LeMoyne-Owen’s (LOC’s) 158-year history — as well as one of the biggest ever received by an HBCU.

“It’s a starting point where they can really attract top-level instructors, they can spend on technology, they can help the students that they have and they can start using it to recruit even more students,” said Akers. “So, this is really an investment in their future and a way for them to grow what they already have and really expand it significantly over time.”

You can find this story and more online at MemphisBusinessJournal.com.

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