(JACKSON, Miss.) — Jackson State University received a $150,000 endowment from the foundation of The P3 Group, Inc., which is the largest African American-owned real-estate development firm in the U.S. The Group equally contributed $150,000 to Florida A&M University.
The Brown Foundation Community Development Corporation, the philanthropic arm of P3, also provided a one-time $10,000 donation to the Sonic Boom of the South marching band earlier this season.
The foundation said the larger funds provide scholarships to students enrolled full-time at JSU and who demonstrate a financial need that can’t be met by other scholarships and financial aid. The endowment is being funded over five years through 2025 at $30,000 annually, with qualifying students receiving $2,000 per semester.
The P3 Group is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. Its projects include working with foundations, schools, cities, counties and quasi-governmental agencies throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean.
Dee Brown is president and CEO of The P3 Group, which has a history of public-private partnerships. The Clarksdale, Mississippi, native said the Brown Foundation assists communities that have helped to enrich and grow the P3 business.
Brown added that the firm’s foundation also assists with educational programs from Pre-K to fifth grade and supports food pantries at various institutions of higher learning.
“We chose to connect with Jackson State University because we have worked with its foundation over the past year. The JSU Development Foundation has really been a good entity to work with. We wanted to see how we could give back to help serve the university’s mission and goals.”
Gee Johnson, chair of the JSU Development Foundation (JSUDF), said the scholarship dollars will help offset the increasing costs of education for students, thereby reducing the wealth gap for young African Americans.
“If you’re not saddled with an exorbitant amount of debt to get an education to move forward, then you can get a leg up when you start working in your field,” Johnson said. “JSUDF solicits privately donated dollars to make sure that every person who wants an education can get one.”
Explaining why he gifted the Sonic Boom with $10,000, Brown said, HBCU bands have been historically underfunded but are a critical piece of the HBCU experience. Athletic teams may win, get all the accolades and bring home the trophy; however, one of the main reasons individuals attend the games is to see the bands perform.
In fact, Roderick D. Little, Ph.D., assistant professor of music and JSU’s director of bands, said he’s grateful for the financial support.
“I would like to thank the P3 group for their sizable donation of $10,000 to the Sonic Boom. Their donation assisted with our band’s paraphernalia at the beginning of the season. We look forward to furthering our relationship and collaboration in the future with P3,” Little said.