Jacksonville philanthropists invest a quarter-of-a-million dollars to support sustainability at Florida’s first independent institution of higher learning

JACKSONVILLE, FL – During this past Saturday evening’s Edward Waters University (EWU) home football game versus Albany State University, Jacksonville business entrepreneurs and philanthropists Greg and Stacy Leb of the Leb Family Foundation made an extraordinary gift of $250,000.00 to the university in support of the EWU endowment. “We are extremely grateful for the tremendous benevolence of Greg and Stacy Leb and the Leb Family Foundation as represented through this significant investment towards the continuing and future viability of Edward Waters University,” said EWU President & CEO, Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr.

”This transformational gift will accelerate and expand our university’s capacity to provide student aid, grants, and other forms of much-needed support to our students and entire university community and we are thankful to Greg and Stacy for their leadership and partnership in support of EWU,” President Faison said.

Institutional endowment growth is critical towards supporting the long-term sustainability for any college or university as it is often the primary financial reservoir depended upon by schools to serve as both a fiscal safety net and a mechanism to advance its strategic priorities. Areas of impact for university endowments often include but are not limited to providing financial assistance to support campus capital infrastructural projects and deferred maintenance needs, academic program support, student aid, grants, faculty research, and student emergency resources.

“We have been inspired by Dr. Faison’s leadership and the advancements achieved by the university with him at the helm over these past going on five years,” said Mr. Greg Leb of the Leb Family Foundation. “Our family has been longtime supporters of Edward Waters, but we wanted to do something even more significant given the phenomenal growth and advancement we’ve witnessed at the school the past few years,” Leb said.

Edward Waters’ Eminence 2025 strategic plan—unveiled and launched in 2020—denotes the growth of the institution’s endowment as one of its foremost priorities. Accordingly, when combined with a contribution made to the university’s endowment at the close of last fiscal year this latest quarter-of-a-million dollar gift to EWU’s endowment will represent an overall 27.77% increase in EWU’s endowment overall capacity in just the past two years. The school has an overall goal to double its endowment by 2025.         

“We think President Faison’s endowment initiative for EWU is something the Jacksonville community should really get behind and support because Edward Waters University is a school that is definitely on the move and headed in the right direction”     

About Edward Waters University

Edward Waters University (EWU), accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), is a private, historically black, urban institution of higher education, which offers a liberal arts education with a strong emphasis on the Christian principles of high moral and spiritual values. EWU was established in 1866 and is an African Methodist Episcopal Church-related institution of learning. It is the first private and independent institution of higher education in the State of Florida.