Durham businessman pledges $1M in scholarships to NC’s historically black colleges

NC Central University commencement in 2016.
NC Central University commencement in 2016. N&O file photo

A wealthy Durham businessman has pledged scholarships totaling $1 million over five years to North Carolina students who enroll in the state’s historically black colleges or universities.

The money is coming from Greg Lindberg, founder of the international investment firm Eli Global. He will work with the N.C. Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, which will screen applicants.

“Mr. Lindberg is interested in access to education, and had been looking for a way to fund scholarships locally,” said Brandon Mitchell, associate general counsel of Global Bankers Insurance Group, the insurance arm of Eli Global.

They envision opportunities for scholarship recipients to work as interns for Global Bankers, Mitchell said.

“It allows us to raise diverse talent and increase diversity within our own workforce,” he said.

Lindberg has emerged as a major political donor in the last year.

He has given the state Republican Party $1.49 million since last August. He has given a super PAC that supports Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest $1 million, and the N.C. Republican Council of State Committee, which Forest runs, more than $1.4 million. He contributed $250,000 to the state Democratic Party this year, and is the sole donor to a new political committee that can make independent expenditures.

He did not attend the event Friday announcing the scholarship that will bear his name.

Five students each year who are interested in business or business-related fields and who enroll in one of the state’s 10 historically black colleges or universities will receive a lump-sum, $40,000 scholarship, amounting to $10,000 a year, said Larry Hall, state Military & Veterans Affairs secretary and chairman of the foundation. Lindberg committed to fund five scholarships each year for five years, Hall said.

“It brings attention to the value of HBCUs,” Hall said.

State Sen. Floyd McKissick, a Durham Democrat, said he and Lindberg spoke in January about the burden of student debt and “how many students drop out of school because of debt.”

Students will be able to apply through a website that will be available later this summer, Hall said, and the money will be available beginning fall 2019.

Bonner: 919-829-4821; @Lynn_Bonner
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