Fort Valley State University Named Finalist in 2015 Retool Your School Contest

April 2, 2015 – Middle Georgia’s Fort Valley State University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), has been announced as a finalist in The Home Depot’s 2015 RETOOL YOUR SCHOOL Campus Improvement Grant Program. Designed to reinvigorate HBCUs, finalists are competing for $255,000 in grants for on-campus improvements and are now asking their communities and the public to help them win. The voting opened February 27, 2015 and closes April 20, 2015. During this period, supporters can visit to vote. Supporters can also capture votes for their school by using #fvsu_RYS15 on their social media channels. Each use of a school’s Retool Your School designated hashtag counts as one social media vote.   This year, the Retool Your School Grant Program will award a total of $255,000 in grants to nine accredited HBCUs in $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 grant denominations. Based on student enrollment, schools will be categorized into one of three clusters-schools with 4,000 students or more, schools with between 3,999 and 1,201 students, or schools with less than 1,200 students.

Following the online voting, a panel of distinguished judges will also evaluate each school’s project proposals within the qualifying clusters. Judges will consider the depth of each proposal and the school’s ability to execute the project within the respective budgets of $50,000, $25,000 or $10,000, as applicable.

Proposals for all three grants must highlight how each project will make a lasting, positive impact on the HBCU campus. Retool Your School will announce the grant recipients May 12, 2015.

“This is a great opportunity to not only win needed funds for our university, but also to give our FVSU supporters a tangible way to support the university using social media,” said Pamela Berry-Johnson, FVSU director of Marketing and Communications.

To apply for the Retool Your School grants, HBCUs were required to submit an application via the “Retool Your School”website by February 10, 2015. Applicants that provided their Phase 1 proposals by the deadline were able to continue and submit full proposals for Tier I, Tier II and Campus Pride campus improvement grants. During the online voting period, which is currently underway, consumers can cast one vote per day, per device for their favorite HBCU. Following the online voting period, a panel of distinguished judges will also evaluate each school’s proposal. Tier I and Tier II projects will be judged based on the number of votes posted to the website, as well as the judges’ evaluation of the relevance to the proposal requirements as listed on the website and application. The winning schools will be determined based on a combination of online votes and the judges’ evaluations. The awarding of the Campus Pride grant will be based on the number of votes and social media activity the winning school receives.

Fort Valley State University will face stiff competition from finalist schools in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, US Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. Therefore, Georgia residents, Fort Valley State University alumni, friends and family should log on and vote at  to ensure that the Wildcats bring home the grand prize. Please remember every ‘Tweet, Instagram and Facebook post received featuring #fvsu_RYS15 will act as social media activity. This activity counts toward Fort Valley State’s social media activity for final judging.

Some of the potential improvement projects entered by the HBCU finalists include projects that will affect the campus and community as a whole, such as installing campus-wide lighting to help to conserve energy & reduce utility expense; building an on-campus sustainable community raised bed garden and farmers market; remodeling a lower level alumni library and installing eco-friendly bathrooms and external landscaping; and, transforming an outdoor campus area into an outdoor classroom. These proposed improvement projects will enhance campus life for current students and generations to come.

For details and updates on The Home Depot’s Retool Your School Campus Improvement Grant Program or to vote online visit


Online voting ends on April 20, 2015, at 11:59 pm EST.