National Society of Black Engineers Receives $2.2-Million Clark Foundation Award To Support The 50k Coalition

Three-Year Grant Will Boost Efforts to Increase the Number of Black, Latinx, Native American and Women Engineers

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Dec. 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) has been awarded a $2.2-million, three-year grant from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation to continue and expand the work of the 50K Coalition, a national effort to produce 50,000 diverse engineers annually in the United States by 2025. NSBE is one of the founding organizations of the coalition, which was established in 2015 after NSBE, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and, later, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) were challenged by some of their common corporate partners to work together to broaden participation in engineering. The four organizations represent a combined membership of more than 80,000 women and underrepresented minority engineering students and engineers. 

“In this crucial time in our nation’s history, the true believers in diversity, equity and inclusion are stepping to the forefront,” said NSBE Executive Director Karl W. Reid, Ed.D. “The 50K Coalition and NSBE are grateful to the Clark Foundation for providing us with additional resources to produce more diverse engineers to meet the great technical, scientific and societal challenges the U.S. and the world are facing.”

 “The convergence of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the social justice issues in the U.S. highlights the importance of the work of the 50K Coalition if we are to have the diverse STEM talent we need to address the complex challenges of the 21st century,” said Karen Horting, CAE, executive director and CEO of SWE. “The 50K Coalition thanks the Clark Foundation for recognizing that our work is crucial and providing us with the resources needed to continue to advocate for diversity and inclusion within the STEM fields.”

“Over the years, the 50K Coalition has made progress, but the progress has not been fast enough to meet the ever-growing demand for engineers and other STEM professionals,” commented Raquel Tamez, CEO of SHPE. “The increase in the number of graduates was just under 50%; we need it to be many times more — 200%, 300% or more. We are proud to stand side by side with our sister organizations to create this order of magnitude increase in diversity and make the STEM sector more inclusive. Collectively, through the 50K Coalition, our impact will be felt by and will benefit our great nation and the whole wide world. More importantly, our work, enabled by the Clark Foundation grant, will change the lives of thousands in communities of color and will forever change their socioeconomic trajectories and those of their families. We will all rise together. We are better together.”

“I sincerely appreciate this most generous contribution from the Clark Foundation to support the important work of the 50K Coalition,” said Sarah Echohawk, AISES CEO. “An investment at this level sends a clear message that diversity, equity and inclusion are critical components of workforce development. I am excited by the work ahead of us and look forward to what we will accomplish together.”

Since the 50K Coalition was founded, the number of Black, Latinx, Native American and women engineers has increased from 27,889 (2014 figures) to 41,390 in 2018, a gain of 48%. The coalition has now grown to 60 members, including 33 colleges and universities, 22 engineering societies and five corporations. Among the high points of the group’s work to date are three annual convenings that brought together more than 180 academic, nonprofit and corporate stakeholders to develop strategies to boost diversity, equity and inclusion in engineering. The coalition is seeking to grow its membership to 250 organizations over the next five years and to influence the matriculation of more than 34,000 incoming engineering students, toward its goal of leading the nation to graduate at least 50,000 diverse engineering seniors each year.

In addition to the Clark Foundation award, the coalition’s fundraising efforts have secured more than $800,000 in grants from organizations including the United Engineering Foundation, the National Science Foundation and Shell Oil Company. NSBE has served as fiduciary for all grants received by the 50K Coalition to date.

The Clark Foundation, based in Bethesda, Maryland, works with its partner organizations to educate engineers, improve the lives of veterans and their families and provide members of the Washington, D.C., community with opportunities to thrive. 

Joe Del Guercio, president and chief executive officer of the Clark Foundation, said, “The 50K Coalition’s strategies align with the Clark Foundation’s investments to expand college access and improve STEM retention for underrepresented minorities and community college students. Our success as a nation depends on us equipping the best and brightest minds with the tools and knowledge to solve our biggest problems. We believe the 50K Coalition is well-positioned to empower a cohort of STEM professionals that reflects the growing diversity of our country as well as meets the growing number of jobs that require an engineering education.”

With more than 700 chapters and more than 21,000 active members in the U.S. and abroad, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the United States. NSBE, founded in 1975, supports and promotes the aspirations of collegiate and pre-collegiate students and technical professionals in engineering and technology. NSBE’s mission is “to increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.” For more information, visit

About the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation

The Clark Foundation expands opportunities for those who demonstrate the drive and determination to better themselves and their communities. A. James Clark was the president of Clark Construction Group, which transformed the landscape of Washington, D.C., with its many projects. Mr. Clark was dedicated to giving back to the communities where he lived and worked.

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