ExxonMobil donation helps drive foundation's mission

A charity's goal to give economically disadvantaged black students an opportunity to attend university has been given a boost with a contribution from ExxonMobil. 

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ExxonMobil donation helps drive foundation's mission

The Cowrie Scholarship Foundation was set up in June 2020 by Professor Richard OC Oreffo, Director of the Centre for Human Development, Stem Cells and Regeneration at the University of Southampton. Over the next decade, the foundation aims to give 100 black British students from disadvantaged backgrounds fully funded scholarships to study the subject of their choice at university, removing the financial barriers that discourage many from entering higher education. It will also link with businesses and donors to help meet other essential costs.

The donation of £5,500 from ExxonMobil’s UK headquarters in Leatherhead will be used to provide a new server to power Cowrie’s IT infrastructure. Prof Oreffo said: “We are delighted to receive this contribution from ExxonMobil that will transform our IT capability allowing infrastructure support towards a standalone platform for our computing needs. The funds will facilitate our ability to establish standalone data capture and storage and a platform upon which the Cowrie Scholarship Foundation can build and expand its technology infrastructure, in due course. The funds will aid our work to enable financially disadvantaged students to attend UK universities.”

He added: “Black British students are under-represented at many of our universities. Individuals from affluent areas are five times more likely than those from deprived areas to attend a high-tariff university ranked in the top third by entry requirements. While many issues are at play in why more black British students do not enter university, the Cowrie Scholarship Foundation seeks to address one part of the jigsaw – the financial cost of university education.”

Roger Salomone, UK Public & Government Affairs Manager said: “Inclusion and diversity are at the heart of ExxonMobil’s activities in the UK - we know that embracing the power of diversity and creating an inclusive culture enables people to reach their full potential. We also have a proud history of supporting educational programmes that provide learning opportunities and inspiration for all.

“We very much hope this contribution to the Cowrie Scholarship Foundation will help it achieve its goal of helping more black students into higher education over the next decade. We wish the foundation, and the students who will benefit from this fantastic initiative, every success.”