By Mechell Clark McCrary
Fort Valley State University has received $250,000 from global beverage leader, Diageo North America to create a permanent endowment fund and provide financial aid grants to talented students across different disciplines and majors.
The donation is part of a broader initiative including a $10 million commitment from Diageo to support 25 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country. Funds will be available for students who attend these HBCUs and distributed according to each institution’s financial aid process. The initiative is also expected to include the creation of Innovation Hubs at select universities and internship platform to help drive diversity within the beverage industry.
“This generous gift to our institution will help make a significant impact on the educational opportunities and career aspirations of our students,” said Dr. Paul A. Jones, Fort Valley State University president. “We are extremely grateful to Diageo North America for their support of HBCUs and look forward to this partnership.”
The internship platform is a part of the company’s plan to build a pipeline of talented leaders in the coming years. Diageo will provide opportunities for HBCU students to gain valuable work experience at a fast pace to help them with their future career goals or jump-start their career in the consumer goods industry.
“This endowment will help to ensure we can continue to provide access to a transformational academic experience for our students now and in the future,” said Dr. Anthony Holloman, Vice President of Advancement, and Executive Director, Fort Valley State University Foundation.
As part of this commitment, Diageo is also exploring the creation of Innovation Hubs to provide students and faculty with an experiential approach and resources that complement traditional learning. The program will include Diageo providing mentorship, lecturers for faculty and students and curriculum development assistance.
“We are proud to partner with these esteemed institutions and to do our part to help shape a more equitable society by providing opportunities for future leaders,” said Debra Crew, President, Diageo North America. “This initiative further deepens Diageo’s commitment to making a long term and sustainable impact on underrepresented communities.”
This initiative was created by working closely with Diageo North America’s African Heritage Business Resource Group (A.H.E.A.D.) to focus on the priorities and actions, along with the right partnerships, to make the most meaningful impact in the Black community.