Google is committed to investing in the future of tomorrow’s Black leaders and professionals, and its latest initiative is directly addressing the diversity gap in tech.

Today, the tech giant has announced a new $50 million grant for 10 chosen Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to help fund scholarships, invest in technical infrastructure to support in-class and remote learning, as well as develop curriculum and career support programs for these students.

“As Google’s Chief Diversity Officer and an HBCU alum, I am proud to continue our long-standing partnership with HBCUs and help provide Black students with access to opportunities in tech,” Melonie Parker told AfroTech exclusively over email. “This work is deeply important to me and the amazing talent, unique perspectives and lived experiences of these students embody the true meaning of diversity. This grant will help to fund the important work needed to further prepare students for the tech industry.”

HBCUs have been long regarded as strong pillars of our community showcasing Black excellence across the arts and STEM areas for over 180 years. These educational institutions provide a direct pipeline to Black talent pursuing higher education and ambitious career goals, which will ultimately help them continue to diversify the workforce across all industries — including tech.

Although these colleges and universities have been successful in graduating the best of their student bodies, Black professionals are still gravely underrepresented in the tech industry. Google’s hope is that this grant and effort of working with these HBCUs will help them close the gap together.

“Earlier this week I met with our HBCU Presidents’ Council to talk about ways we can work together to expand access to opportunities for underrepresented groups in STEM,” Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said to AfroTech. “I always leave these meetings inspired and energized — and this week, I was proud to share our new $50 million commitment will help support scholarships, invest in technology for classrooms, and develop curriculum and career readiness for the next generation of tech leaders.”

According to Google, its $50 million grant marks the company’s largest financial commitment to date for HBCUs. Each institution will receive a “one-time unrestricted financial grant of $5 million” that will give them the flexibility to pour back in their communities and invest in the future workforce how they see fit.

The 10 HBCUs receiving funds from the grant include:

      • Claflin University (SC)
      • Clark Atlanta University (GA)
      • Florida A&M University (FL)
      • Howard University (DC)
      • Morgan State University (MD)
      • NC A&T State University (NC)
      • Prairie View A&M University (TX)
      • Spelman College (GA)
      • Tuskegee University (AL)
      • Xavier University (LA)

Google’s grant follows its previous work to support HBCUs over the last few years, including its Pathways to Tech initiative. All of these initiatives were designed to “build equity for HBCU computing education, help job seekers find tech roles, and provide opportunities to accelerate their careers,” the tech giant says.

This new grant and Google’s HBCU partnerships is what will solidify the company’s commitment to allow more access and generate more opportunities for underrepresented groups in tech.

Several of Google’s HBCU partners — including Dr. Michael Lomax, CEO of the United Negro College Fund — shared their sentiments about how the new grant will help support their STEM programs and hopefully set a new standard for corporate philanthropy that will tackle the racial inequities undermining Black professionals.

“Google’s leadership gift of $50 [million] signifies an investment that will enable UNCF and TMCF to build on the great work we have implemented on our respective campuses,” Dr. Lomax shares, “to enhance their competitiveness in computer science and technology, provide professional development opportunities for our computer science faculty to innovate the curriculum, and prepare our students for a bright future with careers in the tech industry, specifically, at places like Google.”

For more information about Google’s new grant fund and latest diversity initiatives, click here.