HHMI Ups Investment in College Science
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute awarded $49.7 million in grants to 42 public and private baccalaureate- and master's-degree-granting institutions in 17 states and Puerto Rico. The four-year grants, ranging from $500,000 to $1.6 million, support programs to improve undergraduate science, from new courses in hot fields such as bioinformatics and computational biology, to fellowships for postdoctoral researchers that include teaching experiences and a mobile teaching laboratory to bring science to disadvantaged and minority students in remote areas. City, Hunter and Queens colleges of the City University of New York and a number of historically black colleges and universities are among the awardees.
Military Families Are Juicy Targets for Payday Lenders
Military families are disproportionately victimized by "payday lenders," according to Military Money (www.militarymoney.com), a publication of InCharge� Institute of America. These cash advance lenders scam vulnerable military families with interest rates that can equal more than 700 percent. An article entitled "Payday Lenders Are on the Prowl!" quotes officials at the Army Emergency Relief office as saying that an estimated 10 percent of the 10,000 active duty troops stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, have had to be rescued by credit counseling because of payday loans and other debt problems.
Bank Settles Redlining Lawsuit
Detroit's Fifth Third Bank agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging "redlining," or discriminating against Black neighborhoods in making loans. The agreement covers practices that allegedly went on at Old Kent Financial Corp. and Old Kent Bank of Detroit before they were acquired by Fifth Third in 2001. The U.S. Justice Department charged that the banks unlawfully avoided making business and residential loans in Black neighborhoods between 1996 and 2000. Fifth Third will provide $3 million in small-business and residential loans in Detroit, open three new full-service branches within the city of Detroit and spend $200,000 on consumer education programs for residents and small businesses in Detroit. The lawsuit was the first filed under the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to focus on discrimination in commercial lending.
African-American Chamber Begins Emerging Contractors Training Class
The African-American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware is training 52 additional minority contractors as part of its successful Emerging Contractors Assistance Program. The program, which graduated 21 minority contractors in September 2003, includes 270 hours of classroom instruction and provides bank lines of credit, mobilization financing, bonding, ongoing management and technical assistance and financial planning, and credit management and tax planning support. It is designed to equip Black, Hispanic, Asian and female contractors with the tools to bid as prime contractors. As of May, graduates had bid successfully on more than $5.4 million in demolition contracts and other city-related construction projects, the Chamber says.
Inauguration of John Hope Franklin Awards in Education
Cox, Matthews and Associates Inc., the publisher of Black Issues in Higher Education, inaugurated the John Hope Franklin Distinguished Contributors to Higher Education awards to highlight the role that scholars and education activists have played in creating access to and expanding educational opportunities, as well as producing exemplary scholarship and research. Dr. John Hope Franklin, for whom the awards are named, is considered the premier historian of the Black experience in the United States. He worked with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in 1953 to help document the history of the U.S. Constitution�s 14th Amendment and its intent for public schooling accommodations. Recipients of the John Hope Franklin awards are the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. David Levering Lewis and Dr. Sybil Mobley.