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The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the largest organization representing the Black College community, and Baxter International Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Baxter International Inc., have announced a new collaboration called the Baxter HBCU STEM Scholars Program.

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The $3.5 million initiative funds scholarships and mentoring to support students at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as well as education.

The partnership is focused on addressing lower graduation rates for Black students completing undergraduate college degrees within six years (44 percent) compared to 63 percent of students overall.

“The Baxter HBCU STEM Scholars Program is designed to help students from under-resourced populations address common challenges to increase the likelihood of graduation and early career success,” said Dr. Harry L. Williams, president and CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “We know that many students experience unforeseen financial hardships that put their plans for pursuing higher education in jeopardy. By reducing financial pressures and creating support networks, students can concentrate on academics and build the experiences needed for achievements at school and beyond.”

Since its founding in 1987, TMCF has awarded over $300 million in scholarships for students and boasts a 97 percent graduation rate for students in its programs.

The inaugural group of Baxter HBCU STEM Scholars will receive scholarships for the fall semester. To further assist students, Baxter employees will also provide mentoring throughout the partnership and in alignment with the company’s ACT: Activating Change Today initiative to advance inclusion and racial justice.

“Our partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund unites Baxter’s longstanding commitment to expanding STEM education with our focus on advancing racial justice,” said José (Joe) E. Almeida, Baxter’s chairman, president and CEO. “Addressing the underrepresentation of Black and Brown students in the science, engineering, and medical fields is essential for nurturing new generations of talent, and ensuring that tomorrow’s innovators and clinicians are serving the needs of a diverse society. We are honored to help the Thurgood Marshall College Fund extend its work to positively impact future scientists, engineers, healthcare providers and more.”

The Baxter HBCU STEM Scholars Program also supports TMCF’s Teacher Quality & Retention Program (TQRP) to help keep Black and Brown teachers in the classroom. TQRP Fellows receive mentorship and professional development starting during their junior year of college and continuing through the first three years of teaching.

Additionally, the annual TQRP Summer Institute provides Fellows with rigorous, hands-on training to build the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in competitive and challenging teaching environments and to be leaders in their schools. In the last 10 years, TQRP Fellows have taught more than 30,000 students, mostly in schools serving students in lower-income communities.

Established in 1987, 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.

Through scholarships, capacity building and research initiatives, innovative programs, and strategic partnerships, TMCF is also the source of top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs.

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