Bluefield State College was awarded a $250,000 grant from the American Electric Power Foundation’s Delivering on the Dream:  Social and Racial Justice Grant Program during a June 30 ceremony at the College.  Pictured during the program (left-to-right) are Dr. Amir Nassirharand (Interim Dean/BSC School of STEM), Dr. Ted Lewis (BSC Provost), Dr. Deirdre Guyton (BSC Director of Alumni Affairs), Mr. Chris Beam (Appalachian Power President and COO), and Prof. Joey Hazelwood (Director/BSC Engineering Department).

Bluefield State College Foundation Announces $250,000 Grant from the AEP Foundation

The Bluefield State College Foundation today announced that the American Electric Power Foundation has awarded it a $250,000 grant. The gift is part of the AEP Foundation’s Delivering on the Dream: Social and Racial Justice Grants program, which is a five-year, $5 million commitment to fund organizations with programs dedicated to advancing social and racial justice in communities American Electric Power serves.

The gift is part of $1 million in grants given to four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The other schools include the foundation for Southern University at Shreveport in Louisiana, Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas, and Wiley College in Marshall, Texas.

The Bluefield State College Foundation will use the grant to support a STEM initiative for students of color. The program is a multi-step approach to support minority Bluefield State students studying in STEM fields to ensure their success throughout their college career and into post-graduation employment.

Delivering on the Dream is a new initiative created by the AEP Foundation to direct funds to programs addressing systematic racism and injustice.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion continue to be critical components of our company culture, but the past year has proven we still have work to do, both at AEP and in our communities,” said Chris Beam, Appalachian Power president and chief operating officer. “The Delivering on the Dream grant program puts our words into action. Appalachian Power and the AEP Foundation are proud to partner with these organizations dedicated to empowering equity for our customers, neighbors and employees of color.

 “This grant from the AEP Foundation will enable Bluefield State to expand their STEM programming, creating more opportunities for minority students to excel in school and beyond,” Beam said. “Appalachian Power is dedicated to building brighter futures for the communities where we live and work and remains committed to advancing justice and equity for our neighbors of color.”

 “Bluefield State College is profoundly grateful for the very timely and substantial support of the American Electric Power Foundation, noted Robin Capehart, BSC President.  “The $250,000 grant awarded to the BSC Foundation will enable our College to enhance educational opportunities for minority students through STEM education.  I salute the initiative and focus of Dr. Deirdre Guyton (BSC Director of Alumni Affairs, Dr. Ted Lewis (BSC Provost), and Mr. Tim McKenzie (BSC Director of Research and Sponsored Programs and Title III,) in developing the grant.  The American Electric Power “Delivering on the Dream” grant will dramatically elevate the career trajectory of many promising minority students at Bluefield State College.”

Other organizations receiving funds include Delta Dental of Virginia Foundation, YWCA Columbus, Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, and Youth Services of Tulsa.



The mission of the Bluefield State College Foundation, a separately incorporated 501(c)(3) organization, is to raise, manage and provide philanthropic support for the students and critical needs of Bluefield State College.  The Bluefield State College Foundation fosters and promotes the growth, progress and general welfare of Bluefield State College.”

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is part of American Electric Power, which is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions. AEP’s approximately 16,800 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 223,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.5 million customers in 11 states. AEP is also one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 30,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including 5,500 megawatts of renewable energy.


The American Electric Power Foundation provides a permanent, ongoing resource for charitable initiatives in the communities served by AEP and initiatives outside of AEP’s 11-state service area. The Foundation focuses on improving lives through education from early childhood through higher education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and by meeting basic needs for emergency shelter, affordable housing and the elimination of hunger. Other Foundation support may be offered to protect the environment, support healthcare and safety, and enrich life through art, music and cultural heritage. The AEP Foundation is based in Columbus, Ohio. 

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