February 25, 2015 founders

Black Founders Awarded Innovation Grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation

Black Founders Awarded Innovation Grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation
to Support Entrepreneurship at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

 The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has awarded Black Founders a $100,000 grant to support hackathons at historically black colleges and universities as a pipeline to tech careers and entrepreneurship.

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has awarded Black Founders a $100,000 grant through its third annual Innovation Grants Program, a program which targets non-profit organizations that strengthen entrepreneurial ecosystems and support high growth entrepreneurs. The grant funds HBCUHacks, a program that uses hackathons at historically black colleges and universities to develop a pipeline of minority tech talent.

Historically black colleges and universities graduate approximately 20% of all black students with computer science degrees every year, but diversity reports from the top tech companies continue to find that less than 5% of their workforce is black and black entrepreneurs who seek venture capital investment remain underfunded.

Black Founders’ HBCUHacks program visits black college campuses over a weekend and gives students the opportunity to use their coding, design, and business skills to build software and mobile apps. These hackathons introduce minority students to the building blocks of tech entrepreneurship while helping students begin their tech careers through direct connections to leading tech companies.

“The impact of our hackathons goes beyond the time that we’re on campus. We want to normalize tech entrepreneurship and show students a path that develops future black entrepreneurs,” commented Monique Woodard, Executive Director of Black Founders. “This additional support from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation means that we’ll be able to scale this program to more schools and reach more students.”

HBCUHacks was piloted with hackathons at Howard University, Morgan State University, and the Atlanta University Center Consortium (Clark-Atlanta University, Morehouse University, and Spelman College). Black Founders will announce new hackathons at additional campuses throughout 2015.

The Blackstone Innovations Grants are given in coordination with the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s efforts to spur entrepreneurship around the world. Through the Blackstone Innovation Grant program, the Foundation provides resources to twenty innovative organizations that directly support entrepreneurs as they pilot, expand or replicate programs that will catalyze the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities.

“Through our Entrepreneurship Initiative, the Foundation is committed to strengthening and supporting entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ecosystems globally through programs that enable the most promising new companies to remain and grow in their local economies,” said Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “We view Blackstone Innovation Grants as an extension of that work – the organizations we support are helping create the conditions necessary for entrepreneurs to thrive. We look forward to supporting Black Founders in their exciting work to spur entrepreneurship at historically black colleges and universities in the year ahead.”


Black Founders is (a 501(c)3 organization) whose mission is to increase the number of successful black entrepreneurs in technology. The organization was founded to empower underrepresented entrepreneurs and provide them with access to advice, mentorship, and funding. For more information, visit www.blackfounders.com.


The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was founded at the time of Blackstone’s IPO in 2007 with substantial commitments from the Firm’s employees. Influenced by the enterprising heritage of the firm and its founders, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is directing its resources and applying the intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship in areas nationwide and globally. Through its investment expertise across several asset classes and geographies, Blackstone has a unique perspective on the global economy and a heightened understanding of how entrepreneurial activity is often the crucial catalyst in the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities. For more information, seehttp://www.blackstone.com/foundation.