Our Foundation helps students at two Historically Black Universities.

New York Life | May 6, 2022


The New York Life Foundation has given $2 million to support a diverse new generation of scholars at Hampton and Howard universities.

The grant from the charitable arm of New York Life includes $1 million for the establishment of six separate funds at Hampton University, with the focus of helping diverse, STEM-focused scholars succeed.

The Foundation has also provided a $1 million grant to Howard University, which will create the New York Life Scholars program for students enrolled in the School of Business. The bulk of the funds will be allocated to students who are unable to complete their degrees due to gaps in funding including the death of a caregiver.

Heather Nesle, President of the New York Life Foundation, said: “This partnership aligns with our efforts to support educational enhancement opportunities for diverse students and bereavement support for school communities. Our intention with this funding is to create brighter futures for these students and for generations to come.”

She said one goal of the Foundation is to help students to overcome challenges that may inhibit them from achieving academic success, including helping them to graduate by reducing monetary and emotional hurdles.

Support when it is needed

In line with Heather’s message, an important area of the $2 million funding is bereavement support – this is a key pillar of the New York Foundation. At Hampton, a student bereavement fund will provide financial support for students who experienced the death of loved ones.

At Howard, gap funding and bereavement support will be given to students who are unable to complete their degrees. The fund is designed to relieve financial and emotional barriers, so students can continue their academic careers at Howard University.Students who have experienced the death of a caregiver who provided college funding will be eligible to apply for a special emergency support fund to help them financially and provide bereavement support.

Anthony Wilbon, dean of the Howard University School of Business, said the grant will give students relief from financial and emotional stressors, and will enable them to complete their degrees with as little disruption as possible.

He said: “Howard University is excited to receive this grant from the New York Life Foundation. Our students often face unexpected personal challenges that can become barriers to their academic matriculation. The New York Life Foundation has recognized this need and is providing significant financial support that will help us continue our commitment to developing future leaders through quality education.”

Howard and Hampton are both Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). HBCUs are higher education institutions established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the intention of primarily serving the African-American community. There are 107 HBCUs, with many of them concentrated in the South.

Howard University

Howard University, founded in 1867, is a prestigious destination for professionals in health, science, engineering, art, law, and education. Howard is a leader in STEM fields. The National Science Foundation has ranked Howard as the top producer of African American undergraduates who later earn science and engineering doctoral degrees.1

Howard has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients.

Howard alumni include vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris, lawyer and civil rights activist, Thurgood Marshall, and rapper Sean Combs (AKA Puff Daddy).

Read Howard University's press release about the grant here.

Hampton University

Hampton was founded in 1868 by Brigadier General Samuel Armstrong as Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute – started with the purchase of a small farm known as "Little Scotland". It now provides a broad range of technical, liberal arts, and graduate degree programs.

Hampton University’s most notable alumni is Booker T. Washington. After walking 500 miles to Hampton from Malden, West Virginia, at age 16, he graduated with the Class of 1875. Other famous alumni include Martin Luther King Jr.’s mother, Alberta Williams King, tech business executive, Charles E. Phillips, and Emmy Award-winning writer and comedian Wanda Sykes.

Hampton University continues to break new ground in academic achievement, staying true to General Armstrong's original promise of “The Standard of Excellence, An Education for Life.”

Dr. William R. Harvey, Hampton University President, said: “By investing so broadly in Hampton, the New York Life Foundation is setting itself apart as a supporter of diverse students and is creating opportunity for growth and development of a diverse new generation of scholars.”



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Media contact

Lacey Siegel
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-7937