3M Partners with UNCF Minneapolis to Launch New Scholarship Program for St. Paul, MN, Students to Attend HBCUs
Community Relations Vice President at 3Mgives Michael Stroik approached UNCF Minneapolis to discuss potential partnership opportunities around education and workforce development recognizing that these are key to racial equity and addressing racial opportunity gaps. Many industries, including STEM industries throughout the country have been challenged with the task of exposing, developing and retaining a diverse global workforce, particularly people of underrepresented minority groups. Therein lies an opportunity to reverse this trend through high school awareness of STEM fields and careers and by partnering with HBCUs which produce almost one-fifth of Black college graduates with bachelor’s degrees in the United States.
To make this happen, in FY 2021, a $5 million gift from 3M to UNCF created a multi-year need-based scholarship program to support more than 100 St. Paul, MN, students as they embark on STEM-related studies at HBCUs. The UNCF/3M Science. Applied to Life.™ Scholarship Program was opened to underrepresented minority high school seniors attending Saint Paul Public Schools or charter schools serving St. Paul students and first-year college students attending an HBCU.
“Through their investment, 3M is making the single largest contribution in UNCF history for students based in St. Paul,” according to Laverne McCartney Knighton, area development director, UNCF. “This will make a significant impact for St. Paul students who are interested in attending historically black colleges and universities.”
Because of 3M’s long tradition of philanthropy and volunteer initiatives that promote STEM equity and skilled trades as bridges of opportunity, they wanted to make an investment that will broaden access to science, manufacturing and skilled trades careers inside and outside 3M, with a focus on progress for underrepresented groups in St. Paul.
“Progress requires us all to stand up as advocates for racial inclusion and social justice,” says 3M Chairman and CEO Mike Roman. “3M will bring our science, our innovation, our volunteerism and our business rigor to these challenges. I stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone who wants to make a difference, and commit our expertise, experience and energy to improving our society one community at a time.”
The decision-making process for this initiative involved the UNCF leadership team, including the Minneapolis area office development director, vice president of development, the scholarships and programs team, as well as a coalition of community leaders from St. Paul Public Schools, Mayor Melvin Carter, City of St. Paul, Center for Economic Inclusion, St. Paul & Minnesota Foundation, and nonprofit leaders from Greater Twin Cities United Way and UJAMAA Place.
The UNCF/3M Science. Applied to Life. Scholarship Program provides significant scholarship support to underrepresented minority students from St. Paul Public Schools interested in STEM careers to attend public and private historically Black colleges and universities. Students will apply their senior year of high school and be eligible to receive $25,000 in renewable scholarship funding over four years upon confirmed enrollment at an HBCU. Additional funds will be available for emergency student aid (as needed) and scholarship assistance for participating 3M scholars requiring a fifth year to complete their STEM degree. In total, UNCF anticipates serving four cohorts of 29 students for a total of 116 3M Scholars. In addition, the Program will offer wrap-around student support services to encourage college persistence and academic excellence to include a college success coach, leadership training and an online learning community. The result will be a cadre of minority leaders from St. Paul poised to assume fulfilling STEM careers.