The University of St. Thomas announced on Thursday two separate high profile donations that will result in scholarships and outreach for underserved communities and family businesses.
The St. Paul-based private college announced an anonymous $10 million donation, which the university will use to remove financial barriers for students attending its Dougherty Family College (DFC). The university plans to work with its community partners to match the donation for a total of $20 million.
The DFC offers two-year associate degrees with a path toward four-year degrees for scholars from underserved communities with financial need. Ninety percent of the school’s students are people of color, and 80% are first-generation college students, according to a release from the school.
“Six years ago, Dougherty Family College made a promise to minimize the financial, academic and social barriers for scholars from BIPOC and underserved communities to earn their associate degrees and provide them with a seamless pathway to their bachelor’s degrees,” said Buffy Smith, dean of Dougherty Family College, in a release. “Today, we are fulfilling that promise.”
A separate donation from the McNeely family and McNeely Foundation to St. Thomas’ Family Business Center will allow the center to reach a broader group of family businesses, the school said in a release. The school didn’t say how much the McNeely Foundation donated, but said it had developed a pilot program to reach a more diverse audience and help a wide range of family businesses succeed.
Membership in the Family Business Center is over 95% white-owned businesses. The new program will begin in 2023 and will focus on engagement and education of family-owned businesses on the east side of St. Paul, according to the release.
The Family Business Center Advisory Board’s chair, Harry McNeely, III, will work with the center’s director, Jon Keimig, to build the center’s programming and expand its outreach.