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Chicago State receives $100K endowment gift from Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority

Over the next four years, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. plans to donate $10 million in financial support to 96 accredited institutions through their "AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund." | Elliot Powell

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. International President Dr. Glenda Glover knows all about the struggles that colleges who don’t have big-money donors face to stay open.

“As someone who went to a HBCU, I know the personal challenges these universities undergo. As a college president myself, I very much know that an endowment like this is needed for sustainability of an institution,” Glover, the president of Tennessee State University said. “This is our way of closing out Black History Month.”

Over the next four years, the sorority — whose international headquarters is in Hyde Park — plans to donate $10 million to 96 accredited institutions through their “AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund.” HBCU is the shorthand term for “Historically Black Colleges and Universities”

The money isn’t just going to HBCUs, though. Chicago State University, a public university, is getting a $100,000 piece of the pie.

The donation is timely for the Far South Side institution, which in recent years has faced low enrollment and layoffs, along with being in the middle of a budget battle over funding for Illinois state colleges and universities.

Chicago State, which has a predominantly black enrollment, received half of the $100,000 endowment Thursday afternoon. No date has been determined yet for the other half of the one-time donation.

“The financial support needed to encourage and support college completion for black scholars cannot be underestimated,” Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott, Chicago State’s president said in a statement. “As all universities continue to face federal and state funding reductions, we need to remember the enormous value of historically and predominately black higher learning institutions and ensure they receive equitable funding.

“The Alpha Kappa Alpha-HBCU Endowment represents a generous and important financial gift and investment in our learning community. The majority of our scholars have financial needs that are not fully met by Federal and State financial grants. These funds provide us with an opportunity to close the gap,” Scott said.

Some of the sorority’s members include Dr. Mae Jemison (the first black woman to travel in space), Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris and Chicago mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle.