ATLANTA, GA (SEPTEMBER 29, 2022) – INROADS, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and United Negro College Fund formed a historic partnership powered by The Southern Company Foundation to prepare students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to become successful business and community leaders committed to upholding the tenets of sustainability. The initiative officially launches October 4, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. ET, through a virtual event designed to inform universities, students, and employers about program opportunities.

The HBCU Sustainable Communities Initiative (HBCU SCI) seeks to equip HBCU talent with support, resources, and knowledge to ensure underrepresented communities are socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable. The initiative encompasses three core areas of impact:

  • Students: Scholarships, paid internships, and experiential learning opportunities including the Sustainability and Social Justice Series

  • Universities: Endowed professorship grants to scale or start academic programs in sustainability fields

  • Employers: Mentoring and internship programs that develop diverse talent pipelines and the next generation of sustainability leaders.

October 4 also marks the opening of the Southern Company Foundation Endowed Professorship for Sustainability grant application for eligible HBCUs, a signature component of the initiative. The Endowed Professorship for Sustainability expands the capacity of select HBCUs to develop and strengthen program offerings in sustainability studies and related fields. The HBCUs selected through the grant process must raise $500,000 to match a $500,000 grant to establish $1 million endowments at each institution. Endowed professorship grant applications are due December 5, 2022.

The official launch highlights early successes of the program. To date, 75 students have been awarded approximately $750,000 in two-year scholarships, and 35 students have been placed in sustainability-focused internship roles with six different employers for fall 2022.

“As part of the HBCU SCI program, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in the Sustainability and Social Justice Training Series and become an intern at the National Parks Conservation Association,” said Lawrence Omodele, computer information systems major and sophomore at Alabama State University. “I’ve learned a lot about sustainability and how it can make a positive difference in business and in my community. I’m now really interested in using sustainable practices in my own entrepreneurial endeavor, a carwash service I own and run, in addition to being a student.”

During the October 4 launch event, attendees will receive an overview of the initiative, and informational breakout sessions will be hosted for HBCUs interested in the Endowed Professorship for Sustainability grant and program participants. Featured speakers include:

  • Forest T. Harper, Jr., President and CEO of INROADS

  • Dr. Harry L. Williams, President and CEO of Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF)

  • Dr. Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO of United Negro College Fund (UNCF)

  • Michael K. Anderson, Senior Vice President of Georgia Power and President and CEO of the Georgia Power Foundation and Southern Company Charitable Foundation

Registration is open for the event at www.hbcusci.org/events.

For more information about the HBCU Sustainable Communities Initiative, visit www.HBCUSCI.org.



Established in 2021, the HBCU Sustainable Communities Initiative (HBCU SCI) fosters thriving communities by preparing HBCU talent for careers in sustainability. HBCU SCI equips HBCU talent with support, resources, and knowledge to ensure communities are socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable. The HBCU Sustainable Communities Initiative is powered by The Southern Company Foundation and delivered through an innovative and historic collaboration among INROADS, Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), and United Negro College Fund (UNCF), three national nonprofit organizations dedicated to creating a more equitable, inclusive, and socially just world. Learn more at www.HBCUSCI.com and follow on Instagram and Twitter @HBCUSCI.


Founded in 1970, INROADS delivers innovative programs and creative solutions that identify, accelerate, and elevate the development of underrepresented talent throughout their careers. Through this development, students become equipped for corporate and community leadership that effects community renewal and social change and elevates economic status and quality of life. INROADS has more than 30,000 alumni and over 900 interns and serves 4,000+ students and 200 corporate clients. Learn more at INROADS.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn @INROADSInc.

About TMCF

Established in 1987, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. TMCF member-schools include the publicly supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions, enrolling nearly 80% of all students attending Black colleges and universities.

About UNCF

UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports student education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. While totaling only 3% of all colleges and universities, UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 13% of bachelor’s degrees, 5% of master’s degrees, 10% of doctoral degrees and 24% of all STEM degrees earned by Black students in higher education. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter @UNCF.

About Southern Company

Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is a leading energy company serving nine million customers through its subsidiaries. The company provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through electric operating companies in three states, natural gas distribution companies in four states, a competitive generation company serving wholesale customers across America, a leading distributed energy infrastructure company, a fiber optics network and telecommunications services. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and affordable prices below the national average. For more than a century, we have been building the future of energy and developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including carbon-free nuclear, advanced carbon capture technologies, natural gas, renewables, energy efficiency and storage technology. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation and a low-carbon future, Southern Company and its subsidiaries develop the customized energy solutions our customers and communities require to drive growth and prosperity. Our uncompromising values ensure we put the needs of those we serve at the center of everything we do and govern our business to the benefit of our world. Our corporate culture and hiring practices have been recognized nationally by the U.S. Department of Defense, G.I. Jobs magazine, DiversityInc, Black Enterprise, Forbes and the Women’s Choice Award. To learn more, visit www.southerncompany.com.