The John M. Belk Endowment was created in 1995 to fund the Belk Scholars national merit scholarship program at Davidson, the late John M. Belk’s beloved alma mater.

The scholars will continue as a legacy program funded by the endowment, which recently broadened its mission to focus on empowering the 21st century workforce by increasing access to college for low-income and other underrepresented students.

The College Advising Corps (CAC) is the first grant recipient under the endowment’s new mission. With a $10 million gift from the endowment, the CAC, in partnership with Davidson College and other North Carolina higher educational institutions, aims to increase access to college for more than 18,000 rural North Carolina high school students. Since its founding in 2006, CAC has provided advising to more than 400,000 underserved students across the nation to navigate the web of college admissions and secure financial aid.