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José E. Feliciano (left) and Kwanza Jones (right) have made the biggest gift in history from Black and Latino donors to Princeton University. Photo: princeton.edu
José E. Feliciano (left) and Kwanza Jones (right) have made the biggest gift in history from Black and Latino donors to Princeton University. Photo: princeton.edu

José E. Feliciano, Kwanza Jones make record $20 million donation to Princeton University

The billionaire investor and artist, lawyer and entrepreneur have given the biggest gift ever to the university from Black and Latino donors.

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A multi-million dollar donation by a power couple to Princeton University is part of a sea change on race sweeping the institution and others like it. 

José E. Feliciano, who was born in Puerto Rico, and came from the island when he was 17,  co-founded the private investment firm Clearlake Capital Group in 2006 with his wife, Kwanza Jones. Together, they have donated $20 million to their alma mater, Princeton University. 

It is the largest donation to Princeton by a Latino and an African-American to date. 

The money will go to build two new dorms and other projects. The two dorms will be named after Feliciano and Jones.

“Kwanza and I are committed not only to continuing Princeton’s tradition of excellence in academia but also in making sure that we can make that available to more deserving students who represent a cross-section of our society,” Feliciano said to Planet Princeton about the donation. 

“We both have the privilege of being Princeton graduates, thanks to the many sacrifices of our parents who recognized the value of education. We recognize that our Princeton education and network have had a fundamental impact on our career path and success,” he continued.

In addition to giving in recognition of Princeton’s impact on their lives and to urge more representation, Feliciano also hoped it would encourage other alumni of color to donate and be more active stakeholders in the Princeton community.

Princeton on race and racism

The donation comes at a time of evolution for Princeton on the issue of race. 

Princeton announced in June 2020 that Woodrow Wilson, whose racist tendencies were no secret, would have his name removed from the university’s international affairs school. 

With this donation, a Latino and African-American will have their names on Princeton dormitories. 

“These will be the first two buildings named after Black and Latino benefactors,” said Feliciano. “We think that makes a difference. My hope is that some young Black, or Latino and Latina student comes to campus and seeing those names will make them feel more welcome and that Princeton is part of them and that they're part of Princeton.”

Jones is an artist, investor, lawyer, and entrepreneur who founded SUPERCHARGED, a media company that specializes in self-development and hosts a community-driven platform. 

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