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Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina selects five HBCU students for 2022 President's Fellows program

Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina selects five HBCU students for 2022 President's Fellows program

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina announced the start of a new class for its President’s Fellows program, an initiative in partnership with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in South Carolina that provides professional development experiences in philanthropy for African American males. Launched in 2015, the President’s Fellows program addresses underrepresentation of African Americans in nonprofit leadership.

The 2022-2023 President’s Fellows are:

  • Marcus Alexander, Benedict College
  • Matthew Bradshaw, Claflin University
  • Aubrey Brown, South Carolina State University
  • Ja’varrius Wilson, Benedict College
  • Charles Wofford, Claflin University

Male executive directors of color are the most underrepresented leadership demographic in nonprofit organizations, regardless of budget size. Overall, African Americans represent only 9 percent of nonprofit executive leaders, less than half of which are male. People of color comprise 27 percent of full-time foundation staff and only 10 percent of those individuals hold CEO and leadership roles.

Sisters of Charity Foundation President Donna Waites said, “Nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, in South Carolina and beyond, thrive when their leadership is diverse, allowing all perspectives to be considered in mission and strategy. The Sisters of Charity Foundation is proud to partner with these HBCUs to address the disparity of African American males in nonprofit leadership and provide these students with meaningful professional development and real-world experience.”

The program, originally offered to students of Benedict College, has recently expanded through partnerships with Allen University, Claflin University, and South Carolina State University. This expansion is also a celebration of a joint funding and programmatic partnership with the Coastal Community Foundation, Central Carolina Community Foundation, and The Duke Endowment.

“The Sisters of Charity Foundation President’s Fellows program provides a pipeline for male students to excel in philanthropy and build professional pathways into diverse career fields,” said Sonya Johnson, career development program manager at Benedict College. “I applaud and support the mission of the fellowship program as it leads the way for the untapped black male talent at HBCUs.”

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity for HBCU students to participate in the President’s Fellows program,” said David Staten, acting associate provost & acting vice president for academic affairs at South Carolina State University. “Providing African American male students with the opportunity to envision themselves as philanthropists is a powerful concept, and I look forward to this amazing experience for the students at SC State University.”

Carolyn Snell, assistant to the vice president for student development and services at Claflin University, added, “As we continue to strengthen the role of African American males in our communities, it is imperative that we provide a platform to elevate their voices. Utilizing the resources from Sisters of Charity, Claflin University male scholars were able to understand their power and value beyond the world of philanthropy. As our males develop in a demographic recognized for charitable giving, this program has provided insight into a culture known for its generosity and allowed them to engage in conversations around achieving effective philanthropy.”

Sisters of Charity Foundation senior director of policy and research, Chynna A. Phillips, said, “We were challenged by Dr. Artis, President of Benedict College, that whenever we give, it should be a symbiotic relationship, which allows room to recognize and adapt to the needs of the university and not make it solely transactional. As this fellowship matured, we saw that more of our funding partners were also seeking avenues to cultivate meaningful relationships with our state’s HBCUs and our universities needed additional exposure.”

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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