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'Stack Your Paper' scholarship focuses on dreams, not GPA or essay

WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore​


Mar 8, 2023
A group of Baltimore-area high school alumni is giving back through their new foundation. Jordan Carter said their organization, called SYP Foundation Inc., is determined to provide scholarships to less fortunate students. "SYP Foundation, it stands for 'Stack Your Paper.' We believe in using money as a tool to give back to the community, and be a resource to gain financial freedom," Carter said.
 

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Meet Alvin Irby, One of Pepsico's Black Changemakers Who's Using Barbershops To Encourage Black Boys To Read More​


13th March 2023


Meet Alvin Irby, One of Pepsico's Black Changemakers Who's Using Barbershops To Encourage Black Boys To Read More


He's making reading fun for little Black boys!
Meet Alvin Irby, the award-winning educator, entrepreneur and author who's also the "Chief Reading Inspirer" at Barbershop Books. The Arkansas native is a former kindergarten teacher who aims to inspire Black boys to read for fun through his nonprofit.

Based in New York, NY, Irby founded Barbershop Books with a mission to "inspire Black boys and other vulnerable children to read for fun through child-centered, culturally responsive, and community-based programming and content," landing him on PepsiCo Foundation and Doritos SOLID BLACK's list of 16 community leaders for their 2023 Black Changemakers program, a program designed to highlight the positive impact people are making in their neighborhoods.
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"I envision a future in which every Black barbershop in America has a child-friendly reading space and barbers who promote and encourage reading for every child and family that enters their doors," he told us.

"Less than 2% of K-12 teachers are Black men and during the first few years of school when children learn to read, there are even fewer Black male teachers. Barbershop Books is addressing the lack of Black male reading role models in boys' schools and homes by supporting early literacy in Black barbershops."

He's currently partnering with Urban Libraries Council to support four library systems in creating child-friendly reading spaces in 40 barbershops across 4 US cities, including Cleveland Public Library, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Shreve Memorial Library, and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Today, he will be honored with the SXSW Community Service Award for his work expanding reading opportunities for underserved children. However, over the next 3 years, he plans to expand to more than 500 barbershop partners and provide early literacy training to over 1,500 barbers. "[We're] working to create a world where every Black boy stands bold in his brilliance and embraces reading and learning as a part of who he is. At its essence, Barbershop Books is a national movement to amplify, affirm, and celebrate stories and learning experiences that help Black boys and other vulnerable children thrive and realize their full potential," Irby said.
 
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Paine College gets major donation from estate of alum, touts fundraiser

WJBF

Mar 15, 2023
Big news for Paine College. Alum of the school left a major donation before they died . Paine College received a $150,000 donation Wednesday from the Estate of Ellis and Ann Johnson that will go toward the school’s Growing Paine fundraising campaign
 

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A Letter From President Smith​

Langston University Clears Over $4.5 Million in Student Balances​

Langston University Office of Public Relations
March 22, 2023
Dear Langston University Community:
Throughout the pandemic, our institution has sought ways to lessen the burden and remove barriers to degree completion for our students. For example, Langston University previously applied HEERF institutional funding for the clearance of student balances for eligible individuals in August 2021. The communication was sent on August 6, 2021.
I am excited to announce that Langston University will again cancel student account balances for students enrolled throughout the Summer 2022, Fall 2022, and Spring 2023 semesters through the support of the HEERF Award. The amount of debt cleared through this initiative totals $4,587,485.82.
The HEERF award allows us to bring balances for students enrolled in a 'pandemic semester' to zero. This award will appear on student accounts as W204 - Higher Ed Emergency Relief Fund. This includes students not currently enrolled at the institution as well as those enrolled during Summer 2022 or Fall 2022 who will now be cleared of any hold preventing them from receiving an official transcript due to a balance. There is no expectation or requirement for enrollment in a future semester to receive the benefit of the cleared balance. The discharge of student debt and clearance of balances does not negate or replace owed balances already paid on student accounts. There will be no refunding or reversing of payments already made on balances owed to the University.
As a further means of removing obstacles for our students, the Office of the Registrar will consider late applications for graduation due to the timing of this award. If you are now eligible to apply for Spring 2023 or Summer 2023 Commencement as a result this HEERF award, your application for graduation must be completed with your advisor's signature and submitted to the Office of the Registrar by no later than 4:00 p.m. CDT on Friday, March 31, 2023.
Should former or returning students with a cleared balance decide to enroll, please contact the appropriate academic advisor using the information found at this link.
We are proud of the positive impact this initiative will have on our students, graduates, and their families for years to come. We appreciate your continued support of Langston University!
Sincerely,
Kent J. Smith, Jr., Ph.D.
 

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UL System RFL Scholars Embark on Transformative Trip to Paris, France​


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BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA, USA, March 30, 2023 -The first cohort of Reginald F. Lewis Scholars are in Paris, France on the program’s inaugural study abroad trip. The Scholars will build cultural competency while exploring the ‘City of Lights’ and gain invaluable experiences preparing them for life after graduation. For many of the Scholars, this opportunity is their first time outside the United States.

The weeklong trip includes notable highlights such as a tour of the Palace of Versailles, lunch at the Eiffel Tower, and the culmination of a faculty-led research and international exchange program. Scholars have worked throughout the past two semesters on a joint research project and will present their shared work at the Pôle Universitaire Léonard de Vinci this week. Scholars will also attend lectures at the historic Sorbonne University surrounding the foundations of democracy.​

RFL Scholars On Flight to Paris


In 2021, the University of Louisiana System established the Reginald F. Lewis Scholars program to improve the collegiate experience and success of Black males. The curated educational experience focuses on three areas: academic, social, and service. Each of the nine University of Louisiana System member institutions select two students each year to join the program based on need, leadership and merit.

“The Scholars are poised to become the next leaders of our great state and beyond. Their success knows no bounds,” UL System President and CEO Dr. Jim Henderson said. “We are so proud of our Scholars and so appreciate those who are sowing into their success—campus facilitators, corporate partners, state lawmakers, nonprofit organizations, and individual donors.”

Reginald F. Lewis was one of the wealthiest Black men in the 1980s, and the first American to close an overseas billion-dollar leveraged buy-out deal. His endeavors were focused on diversity, equity and inclusion which spirited his book, ‘Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?’ Lewis died in January 1993 at just 50 years old, but his legacy continues through future generations including the Scholars in the program bearing his name.

“His model and his life set a stage for so many others who come from less fortunate situations to know they can achieve whatever they desire and wherever their minds take them,” said former UL System Board Chairman James Carter, Esq.

The RFL Scholars program is primarily funded through corporate sponsorships aimed at closing the opportunity and achievement gaps among historically underserved populations. In order to continue connecting these young men with opportunities, donations and sponsorships are critical.

The widow of Reginald F. Lewis, Loida Nicolas Lewis, recognizes the current and potential impact of the Scholars program. “As we talk about bridging the gap between those who are educated and those who are not, we must remember that America is for everyone - so I encourage all to give to this program, because it will create such a wave that when we start, others will follow,” Mrs. Lewis said.​
 

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Non-alumnus Gifts $600K in Property to ASU​

05/23/2023

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Dr. Roosevelt McCorvey, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Montgomery, wanted to draw upon Alabama State University’s historic strengths by helping to prepare ASU students for the challenges and opportunities they will encounter.

McCorvey, a non-alumnus, gifted Alabama State University with property worth $600,000. The gift closely mirrors alumni giving.

“I call myself a friend of the University because I graduated from another HBCU in Alabama. I practice in Montgomery and the population here is responsible for whatever I got. I wanted to give back to that community. So, we offered the property to ASU and they accepted it,” he said. “I could have tried to extract as many dollars out of the building that I could but…. I thought I could come to close proximity to regeneration by donating it to an institution. I wanted it to be used beyond my use.”

McCorvery hopes the tripod building consisting of three suites, located on the city’s west side, will be used as a human science facility.

“But, if Alabama State can convert it to use that is favorable to them, I’m okay with that,” he said.

The Florida native’s connection to ASU is tied to his best friend.

“My late frat brother and best friend, Richard Quinton Thomas, a staunch ASU graduate, was the most influential in my decision. He helped me build the building,” he said.

Other ASU ties, he noted, include his wife and other ASU graduates.

“Both my wife’s parents graduated from ASU. I have several good friends who are ASU graduates. President Quinton T. Ross and I attended the same church for many years and a lot of ASU faculty attend church (Hutchinson Missionary Baptist Church) with me. And my friend Dr. John Henry Winston’s son, Dr. John H. Winston, III, married one of my daughters, Dr. Barbara Michele McCorvey; both are Alabama State graduates,” he added. “I was connected to a lot of people in the community from Alabama State after being there for 40-plus years.”

McCorvey recalls a fond memory of ASU. “When I was a very young fellow my parents brought me to a Turkey Day football game when ASU played Tuskegee. That was a great day. I’ve been back to the ASU campus several times, off and on, since that day.”

McCorvey said he could have become a Hornet, but at the time, the Pensacola, Florida native said Tuskegee offered medical programs. “I wanted to be a doctor, that’s why I went to Tuskegee.”

Audrey Parks, ASU’s director of Development, said the University is most grateful for McCorvey’s philanthropic generosity.

“Through Dr.. McCorvey’s gift, his legacy of generosity will live on at ASU,” Parks said.

Parks noted that private gifts of this nature from alumni and friends of the University improve the quality of an ASU education and are used to recruit and retain outstanding faculty and students and provide funding for instruction and research
 

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Grassroots scholarship helps HBCU students​

June 2, 2023




ROCKINGHAM — With graduation fast approaching, one Richmond County native is doing his part to ease the financial burden for prospective college students.


Jawnte Everette is no stranger to the initial sticker shock that can be associated with pursuing higher education. He has attained a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology, a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership in Criminal Justice, and is presently working towards a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice.


Currently an English Teacher at Ashley Chapel, Everette fondly recalls his time at Shaw University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). After completing his initial degree program, Everette became invested in the success of HBCU’s, promoting attendance to new Richmond County graduates.


“A lot of time HBCU’s are overlooked,” Everette says, but his time there helped him develop into the professional he is today. “The truth of the matter is, a lot of people hear historically black, and when I went to my HBCU, I didn’t meet many people that looked and acted like me. We may have the same skin tone, but you may have African Americans from different parts of the world, and my understanding of African American is different than theirs,” Everette continued.


Everette actively mentored students looking to continue their education but felt like he could do more.


A year ago, Everette, with a push in the right direction, started the I Can Scholarship. “I was going to wait until this year to do it, but my mom was like, well if you think about it, the title is I Can, so why don’t you do it now,” Everette said.


According to Everette, the I Can Scholarship program aims to provide financial assistance to exceptional students who will be attending a Historically Black College and University.


The scholarship, however, is about more than just pecuniary assistance.


This year’s official media release states, “the primary objective of the I Can Scholarship is to develop, enhance, and motivate learners by offering mentorship and career development opportunities.” It goes on to say, “I Can Scholarship seeks to foster a deeper appreciation for HBCU’s and the invaluable role they play in providing quality education, promoting diversity, and empowering students of all backgrounds.”


In its first year the scholarship fund was able to endow Isiah McRae with $1,000 towards tuition. According to Everette, McRae just completed his first year at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University with a 4.0 GPA, while majoring in Engineering.


On May 18, another $1,000 award was granted to William White. Like McRae, White will also be attending NC A&T. White will be enrolled in the Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics in the fall.


Everette plans on continuing to grow his grassroots scholarship effort by expanding fundraising and helping more than one student at a time.


“I just met with the committee, and we said, ‘Hey, why don’t we do two scholarships next year?’ We can do a $1000, and a $500. So I think its growing and people are starting to see the impact of what the I Can Scholarship can do for students,” Everette proudly exclaimed
 

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Student Freedom Initiative Partners With New Investment Fund to Raise the Capital of HBCUs
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The historic fund launches a $10.35M growth fund for participating HBCUs

June 06, 2023

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Historic Fund, a recently endowed educational venture capital fund, launched a $10.35 million investment rubric to support the growth of the endowments of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Mark Brown, executive director of the Student Freedom Initiative, stated: “We are grateful for our collaboration with the Historic Fund because our mission is to close the wealth gap in America through the lens of education. The endowments of HBCUs are significantly lower than that of other universities that may not have faced similar historical biases.

The Historic Fund is a unique philanthropic initiative that invites selected HBCUs to be limited partners without investing their own assets. Instead, the fund has initially raised capital from partners of nine participating venture capitalist funds: Acrew Capital, B Capital, Cowboy Ventures, First Round Capital, FirstMark Capital, Foundry, General Catalyst, Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures. Each participating funder raised the capital to invest in this unique initiative, and each participating HBCU will receive roughly $1.35 million.

The fund's goal is to foster stronger, more diverse relationships at the collegiate level by partnering with HBCUs. The Student Freedom Initiative will cultivate those relationships and provide individual school-level support. The Student Freedom Initiative has policy expertise, programming, grant writing and data to implement initiatives, like the Historic Fund, for economic growth and long-term social justice impact.

The Historic Fund will support a variety of under-represented fund managers through its stake in First Close Partners, a venture fund with the mission of making venture capital more inclusive through investments led by underrepresented managers. The participating HBCUs will function as traditional limited partners in a venture capital fund and will be free to use the returns as they wish. This experience also exposes students–and the schools–to the world and business of venture capital. Students will gain an understanding of what it takes to be an investor, a career path that traditionally lacks people of color.

The inaugural cohort of HBCUs includes
  • Benedict College
  • Bennett College
  • Fisk University
  • Florida A&M University
  • Hampton University
  • Morehouse College
  • Tougaloo College
  • Virginia State University
  • Virginia Union University
  • Xavier University of Louisiana.

These colleges were chosen because of their track record of producing talent and their commitment to students beyond graduation
 
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