Community Foundation, MLK50 to host discussion on need for more Black college grads

The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis is partnering with MLK50: Justice Through Journalism on a free, virtual community conversation on the need for more Black college graduates in Memphis. 

The event, titled "Why Memphis Needs More Black College Graduates," is scheduled for Tuesday, November 17, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Register and find more information here. Attendees can also submit a question for the Q & A portion of the event with registration or by email at [email protected] 

The Community Foundation cited new data that shows white Memphians are nearly three times as likely to have a college degree than Black Memphians.

At the November 17 event, local experts will explore the importance of a better educated workforce and more opportunities for Black Memphians for the area's economy. They'll also discuss how responding to this inequity could reduce poverty rates and the unique needs and challenges Black students face with post-secondary and professional opportunities.

MLK50's founder, publisher, and award-winning journalist Wendi C. Thomas will moderate the event. The panelists are:
  • Dr. Carol Johnson Dean, LeMoyne-Owen College interim president
  • Beverly Robertson, Greater Memphis Chamber CEO
  • Robert Fockler, Community Foundation president
“Research shows that 97 percent of Memphians with a college degree are not living in poverty. If we can help more of our citizens pursue higher education, we can improve the city’s talent pool, drive its overall economy, attract more big business, and maybe most importantly, create more local businesses,” said Fockler in a press release.

In July 2020, the Community Foundation created a historic, $40 million endowment fund for LeMoyne-Owen College, which is Memphis' only historically Black college or HBCU.

“The Community Foundation’s gift to LeMoyne-Owen College should be a springboard for further community investment in Black youth in Greater Memphis, but that’s just the beginning,” said Thomas by press release. “We hope this crucial conversation will lead to solutions that address existing inequities, and consequently, positively impact the city.”

Founded in 1969, the Community Foundation is a Memphis-based philanthropy that manages 1,200 charitable funds. Last year they awarded $163 million in grants to area nonprofits.

[Story based on press release]

Read more articles by Cole Bradley.

Cole Bradley is a native Memphian and graduate of the University of Memphis. Cole's worked locally as a researcher and community engagement strategist and began contributing to High Ground in Jan 2017. 
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