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Students Get Help From Black Engineers

ALEXANDRIA, VA -- The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) has announced that Goldman Sachs Gives, the donor-advised fund of the investment bank Goldman Sachs, would help fund scholarships for 29 St. Lucian students to attend Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) this fall. More than 250 St. Lucian students applied for an unprecedented 75 partial scholarships offered by the university. NSBE, Goldman Sachs Gives and the government of St. Lucia will help cover the balance of the fees not covered by IIT's grants.

"Getting these students enrolled at IIT represents true fulfillment of NSBE's mission," says NSBE National Chair Calvin Phelps, 23, the organization's top officer. "Partnerships like these reflect the direction we need to take." Phelps traveled to St. Lucia this month with NSBE Executive Director Carl B. Mack and NSBE National Parliamentarian Tasha Zephirin, to meet with the students and other entities involved with the scholarship effort.

"We thank Goldman Sachs Gives for its incredible generosity," says NSBE Executive Director Carl B. Mack, who initiated the scholarship effort and solicited the Goldman Sachs Gives donation under the direction of Chairman Phelps. "St. Lucia has many outstanding students, but because of a lack of financial resources, only 7 percent of its students attend universities. When the announcement was made through St. Lucia's media about the IIT scholarships, people's hopes soared."

The contributions from Goldman Sachs Gives were delivered from the accounts of individual partners. The support was organized by Goldman Sachs Co-CIO Steve Scopellite.

"Goldman Sachs has worked with the National Society of Black Engineers for many years to extend access to math and science education," says Scopellite. "This latest partnership will reach underserved students, opening opportunities for them as individuals and driving economic growth in their community."

"Illinois Institute of Technology is committed to preparing the next generation for undergraduate and advanced degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. Students who excel in these fields will be tomorrow's leaders in improving and advancing the human condition," says Gerald Doyle, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Admission and Financial Aid, who recently returned from a visit to St. Lucia. "We are delighted to work with the faculty and students of Sir Arthur Lewis Community College and RISE to create these educational opportunities for outstanding St. Lucian students, and look forward to these 29 students arriving on the IIT campus."

St. Lucia has a wealth of unused academic talent. Although many students there display academic excellence, most lack the financial resources to study at the university level. After Mack's first visit to the island in late June - hosted by a St. Lucian community service organization named RISE - NSBE sought resources to secure 10 scholarships for St. Lucians at U.S. universities. But within days, the Illinois Institute of Technology had offered 75 grants. The scholarships cover 70 percent of the students' fees.

The donation from Goldman Sachs Gives, and the St. Lucian government's offer of loan guarantees, provided the remaining financial pillars and has made a university education possible for 29 students.

"After seeing how hungry these students are for the education, it truly is a joy to help fulfill that dream," says Phelps.

Since launching its effort, "the National Society of Black Engineers, NSBE, has become a household name in Saint Lucia," reported The Voice, St. Lucia's largest newspaper, on July 13.

"This precedent-setting initiative, sparked by the aspirations and determination of the St. Lucian students, will develop into a long-term relationship between all parties," says Zephirin. "It is my hope that NSBE can help facilitate similar relationships between other institutions not only throughout the Caribbean but with other countries to benefit both current and future NSBE members."

The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), founded in 1975, is the premier organization serving blacks in engineering and technology. With more than 35,700 members in the U.S., Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean, NSBE is one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the U.S. NSBE now has 242 active chapters on college and university campuses, 82 NSBE Jr. chapters for middle and high school students, and 70 Alumni Extension chapters and interest groups for technical professionals. NSBE's mission is "to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community." 

Goldman Sachs Gives is a donor-advised fund - a public charity that maintains individual accounts for donors who recommend grants to qualified non-profit organizations from their accounts. Established in 2007, Goldman Sachs Gives enables Goldman Sachs and its people to leverage their donations to charities in the communities where they live and work, or elsewhere around the globe. The focus of this contribution is on those areas that have been proven to be fundamental to creating jobs and economic growth, building and stabilizing communities, honoring service and veterans and increasing educational opportunities.

Founded in 1890, IIT is a Ph.D.-granting university with more than 7,700 students in engineering, sciences, architecture, psychology, design, humanities, business and law. IIT's interprofessional, technology-focused curriculum is designed to advance knowledge through research and scholarship, to cultivate invention improving the human condition, and to prepare students from throughout the world for a life of professional achievement, service to society, and individual fulfillment. 

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