Beer and spirits maker Diageo gives $10M to Black colleges

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NEW YORK (AP) — British-based beer and spirits maker Diageo is giving a combined $10 million to 25 historically Black colleges and universities across the United States, continuing an upswell of giving to the institutions following last summer's racial justice protests.

The money, given by the company that makes and sells brands such as Guinness beer, Johnnie Walker whiskies and Smirnoff vodka, will create endowments to help colleges financially assist students. Diageo said it’s trying to help offset the higher student debt that graduates of historically Black colleges often accrue.

Diageo also said it will create innovation hubs at some of the colleges, providing students with experience, mentorships, guest lecturers and helping faculty developing curriculum. Locations for the hubs will be announced later.

Donations are going to schools in 12 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. They include Alabama A&M University, Alabama State University, Bowie State University, Clark Atlanta University, Delaware State University, Dillard University, Fisk University, Fort Valley State University, Florida A&M University, Grambling State University, Hampton University, Harris-Stowe State University, Howard University, Jackson State University, Kentucky State University, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina A&T University, North Carolina Central University, Tennessee State University, Tuskegee University, University of Virgin Islands, Winston-Salem State University, and Xavier University.

The company said it’s giving four grants of $1 million, one grant of $500,000 and 20 grants of $250,000 to the schools, plus another $500,000 to support programs across the colleges. Diageo did not identify which schools are getting which amounts.

Diageo said it will also seek to give internships to students from historically Black schools, seeking to diversify its workforce.

The company said the giving comes from a $20 million fund it set aside last year to address the needs of Black communities and businesses.

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This story has been corrected to show Diageo is giving four grants of $1 million, not five grants of that amount, and is giving 20 grants of $250,000, not 19 grants of that amount.