Diageo North America expands HBCU endowment to help advance equity in education

28 Feb 2023 | Press release

An additional $1.75 million in funding will include endowments to new institutions and development programs.

Advancing equity in education
  • Tougaloo College, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania and Southern University join 25 HBCUs to receive permanent endowments.
  • Expansion also includes funding to Minority-Serving Institutions, such as a recent grant to Miami-Dade College.

New York, NY, February 28, 2023 – Diageo North America is providing an additional $1.75 million in endowments to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions. The additional funding is an expansion of the company’s initial $10M in endowments granted to 25 HBCUs in 2021, as part of Diageo’s commitment to inclusion and diversity.  This unique endowment and development program works to shape a more equitable society and address educational barriers in underrepresented communities across the U.S.

The initiative provides direct grants for talented students in need and funds development programs that complement traditional learning. These resources will be available to students and faculty, and include lectures and mentorship from Diageo executives, skills training to cultivate future-ready talent, and bringing together leaders across public and private organizations to create solutions that help advance sustainable growth across these institutions. 

“Diageo recognizes the critical role HBCUs and minority-serving institutions play as ladders of opportunity for underrepresented communities. Expanding our program to additional higher education institutions further affirms our recognition and commitment to address structural barriers to educational and economic opportunities in the U.S.," said Stephanie Childs, Executive Vice President, Corporate Relations, Diageo North America. “We believe our additional investments, will help provide students with employable skills and support the development of the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders.”

The three new HBCU schools, Tougaloo College in Jackson, MS; Cheyney University of Pennsylvania in Cheyney, PA; and Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA will each receive $250,000 in grants for need based scholarships.

“The power of higher education is priceless. Diageo’s impactful gift will provide meaningful opportunities to transform a student’s educational journey, career trajectory, and life,” said Dr. Carmen J. Walters, President of Tougaloo College. “More than 90 percent of our students receive financial aid to help meet the cost of their education. This partnership will be a valuable asset to Tougaloo’s ongoing work and contribute to breaking down financial barriers that impede deserving students from pursuing their dream of an education. An investment in scholarships is an investment in tomorrow’s leaders.”

“We greatly appreciate Diageo’s contribution to support Cheyney’s efforts with providing students the financial resources and opportunities to help them achieve academic success. We have thrived on the strengths of our public-private partnerships and Diageo’s endowment will help enhance our mission to offer students a unique learning experience, creating professional pathways for their future,” said Aaron A. Walton, President of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.

“At Southern University, we pride ourselves in providing an accessible learning environment for all students, ensuring that they are prepared to compete in a global marketplace. The Diageo Endowed Scholarship Fund will aid in our mutual commitment to providing our students with valuable resources and in helping to shape a more equitable society,” said Dennis J. Shields, President-Chancellor, Southern University System. 

As part of the expansion, Diageo will also provide funds to Minority-Serving Institutions. The Miami-Dade College (MDC) Foundation was recently awarded $1 million to create a permanent endowment fund and provide financial aid to talented students in underrepresented communities across various disciplines and majors - including supply chain management and hospitality training.

An Ongoing Commitment to Advancing Diversity & Representation

In 2022, Diageo joined a consortium of leaders across HBCUs, corporations and research organizations with the aim to advance growth opportunities for these institutions focusing on cultivating a pipeline of future-ready talent by reimagining career guidance, upgrading facility and technology infrastructure, and exploring innovative financial models for sustainable growth. Diageo North America is also part of the Congressional HBCU Partnership Challenge helping advocate for positive policies at higher education institutions.

Diageo’s ‘Learning Skills for Life’ program provided employability skills and hospitality training to more than 900 people in underrepresented communities in 2022 through a variety of community partnerships, and across our work with Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

In addition to these initiatives, Diageo continues to promote diversity and equal representation in the spirits industry through its work with Pronghorn, a standalone business venture and ten-year action plan dedicated to the development of Black entrepreneurs and minority owned brands. The work in this space includes actively participating in Pronghorn Spirits Academy internship program for Black students attending HBCUs and other universities.

This past year the company and its brands celebrated the advancement of the HBCU community through talent and sports, as the official spirits partner of the 49th Annual Bayou Classic in New Orleans.

More information on Diageo’s ‘Society 2030: Spirit of Progress’ commitment to championing inclusion and diversity.


About Diageo

Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Bulleit and Buchanan's whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Casamigos, DeLeon and Don Julio tequilas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Diageo is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE: DGE) and our products are sold in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information about Diageo, our people, our brands, and performance, visit us at www.diageo.com. Visit Diageo's global responsible drinking resource, www.DRINKiQ.com, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for news and information about Diageo: @Diageo_News and @Diageo.