The Propel Center Along With Founding Partners Apple and Southern Company Announce $3 Million In
First-Round Grant Funding To Fifteen Historically Black Colleges and Universities

(JACKSONVILLE, FL – Thursday, December 23, 2021) – The Propel Center, committed to advancing equity in education by serving as a global leadership and innovation hub for HBCUs, announced last week the fifteen institutions from throughout the nation selected to receive $3 million collectively for their stellar impact grant submissions centered around Agri-tech and Arts & Entertainment initiatives.

Upon careful consideration of the 44 impressive proposals submitted, the Propel Center named the

University of the District of Columbia, Morehouse School of Medicine, Delaware State University Foundation, Alabama State University, and Southern University Agricultural Research & Extension Center, and the Southern University Law Center as the five finalists to be awarded Agri-tech grants. Likewise, Jackson State University, Prairie View A & M University, Wiley College, Bishop State Community College, Miles College, Bethune Cookman University, Benedict College, Simmons College of Kentucky, Edward Waters University, and HBCUvc were chosen for funding focused on the Arts & Entertainment.

“We were blown away by the innovation in the projects these institutions presented, and we are super excited about the tremendous expansion and exposure the students at these institutions will gain from their involvement in these groundbreaking initiatives,” revealed Dr. Cortney Harris, Vice President of Impact and Engagement at Propel.

Dr. Harris embraces Propel’s mission to prepare generations of black leaders who will leverage technology, creativity, and dynamic problem solving to accelerate educational equity.

“We believe all students should have access to the tools, resources, and opportunities to change the world,” said Lisa Jackson, Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives at Apple. “The HBCU community is full of creativity and vision, and we’re proud to support new programming and pathways to drive meaningful change through the Propel Impact Grants.”

Dr. A. Zachary Faison President and CEO, Edward Waters University, agreed adding, “as Florida’s ‘Destination Institution’ of Emerging Eminence, we are honored to accept the Propel Impact Grant award which will also support the continued advancement of our institution’s mission to provide expanded and relevant high quality academic and experiential opportunities in support of the overall development and success of our students,” Faison said.     

“I am deeply grateful to ‘The Propel Center’ its partners, and Dr. Harris for their demonstrated leadership in the collective effort to accelerate opportunity and catalyze equity not just here at Edward Waters University, but at these collective higher educational treasures—known as HBCUs—from throughout the nation”.

The Arts & Entertainment and Agri-Tech Grant disbursements will begin in January 2022. The second round of Impact grants focused on health, social justice, and entrepreneurship, will be released in February 2022.  HBCUs interested in applying are encouraged to visit

About The Propel Center:

Imagined in January 2021 by founding partners Apple and Southern Company, the Propel Center is a first-of-its-kind innovation and learning hub for the entire HBCU community that leverages technology to advance education equity and transform the nation’s talent pipeline and workforce. Through a robust virtual learning platform, on-campus activations at partner institutions, and a physical campus to be located in Georgia’s Atlanta University Center, Propel represents education now, designed for the future. The state-of-the-art edifice, featuring floating classrooms, ideation labs and common areas promoting interactive collaboration is slated for completion in the Spring of 2023. To learn more, visit

About Edward Waters University: Emerging Eminence

Edward Waters University is distinctively the state of Florida’s first independent institution of higher learning as well as Florida’s first institution established for the education of African-Americans. With a distinguished higher education lineage spanning over 150 years, EWU is primed to continue its Emerging Eminence as a premier urban, private, Christian, historically black, liberal arts university offering high quality degrees and preparing students holistically to advance in a global society through the provision of intellectually stimulating academic programs of study. The University offers a close-knit, collegial, intellectual community that draws students and scholars from around the world. For more information, visit