In honor of the life and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Toyota Financial Services (TFS) will provide $60,000 to several historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, as well as the Tom Joyner Foundation.
Announced Friday, Jan. 13, five schools — Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., Mississippi Valley State University, Winston-Salem State University and Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas — will benefit from the gift.
“For the third year, we’re so glad to partner with Toyota Financial Services in supporting the vision of HBCUs,” said Thomas Joyner Jr., the foundation’s president and CEO. “These scholarships are an important investment in these schools, and are critical in helping students pursue their dreams.”
TFS will also donate an additional $10,000 to support the Tom Joyner Foundation.
“Education should be accessible to all — but many talented young minds are unable to complete their college education and realize their full potential because of the lack of financial aid,” said Mike Groff, TFS president and CEO. “In keeping with TFS’ deeply held commitment to diversity and inclusion, we are honored to support the mission of HBCUs and help these students reach their academic and professional aspirations.”
The college graduation rate for African-American students in the U.S. stands at 42 percent, as opposed to 62 percent for their white counterparts.
Toyota executives said financial support of universities is key in black student retention and, subsequently, high graduation rates.
“Dr. King’s dream included the belief that young people should be given an opportunity to receive the best education possible,” said John Ridgeway, TFS corporate manager. “As a Toyota executive and an HBCU alumnus, I am proud to see Toyota Financial Services supporting these fine institutions and advocating higher education within our communities.”
In December, the Tom Joyner Foundation added 14 HBCUs to raise money for in 2017, including: Jarvis Christian College; Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, N.C.; Southern University of New Orleans; Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida; Florida Memorial University in Miami; Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama; Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta; Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee; Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C.; Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C.; Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee; University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; Langston University in Langston, Okla.; and Morgan State University in Baltimore.
The foundation, formed by the nationally syndicated radio personality, unveiled the names of the schools as part of its ongoing effort to assist these institutions in broadening and strengthening their efforts to raise money to help keep students attending HBCUs.
“We’re excited to announce this year’s schools,” said Joyner, a graduate of Tuskegee University. “All of these schools have wonderful histories and traditions, and we want to make sure their students are able to stay in school and have the great experience, as I did, from graduating from a HBCU.”