Historically Black colleges and universities throughout the country are making significant strides when it comes to fundraising this year. Fisk University recently received a multi million-dollar donation, marking the largest gift in the institution’s 155-year history.
The $2.5 million endowment—which was provided by philanthropists Amy and Frank Garrison—will go towards the creation of a scholarship fund and an endowed chair at Fisk’s John Lewis Center for Social Justice that honors the legacy of activist and former Fisk student Diane Nash. Nash, who was a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, played an instrumental role in coordinating lunch counter sit-ins in the Nashville area during the height of the Jim Crow Era, supported the Congress of Racial Equality in coordinating Freedom Rides and has led several other efforts centered on fighting for social justice.
Dr. Nash says having an endowed chair in her honor is monumental for her and the other leaders whose contributions are embedded in the fabric of the civil rights movement. “This is the first and only endowed chair with my name and I am so pleased to have it at my alma mater,” she said in a statement. “This is such an honor and it belongs not only to me, but also to the thousands of people who participated in the freedom movement with me.” Frank Garrison says he hopes the endowment will empower and inspire the next generation of changemakers. “Fisk’s extraordinary contributions to the fabric of American life are well documented and today’s students are eager to continue in the footsteps of those legendary leaders, like Diane Nash and John Lewis, who helped shape a better future and set lasting examples of courage and purpose for all of us,” he said.
News about Fisk University’s gift comes after North Carolina A&T State University logged a record-breaking accomplishment in terms of fundraising. Within the past year, the Greensboro-based school has raised $88 million.