In partnership with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Taylor announced today that $61,000 has been committed for its HBCU CLASS OF 2020 TAYLOR LOAN FORGIVENESS GRANT.
Taylor will be donating $50,000 with an additional $11,000 raised through fundraising efforts. The funds will be awarded to 11 recipients, selected by UNCF, each receiving grants of $5,000 The additional $6,000 will go toward UNCF’s support of the program and grant recipients.
The grant program was originally announced on May 16th, 2020. To help launch the fundraising drive, more than two dozen Taylor colleagues came together via Zoom to deliver an emotional, hopeful and encouraging video tribute to this year’s graduates of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) nationwide. Written by Joel Daniels and Ranjani Gopalarathinam of the Taylor Creative team, this tribute, entitled “POWER IN YOUR PURPOSE” (below), was introduced on May 16th to coincide with the virtual 2020 HBCU Commencement Ceremony.
Taylor has a long history supporting students from HBCU member institutions. Through its HBCU Summer Internship program, which was established in 2006, Taylor has provided students with a paid, full-time internship opportunity (including housing costs) to live and work in New York City for the summer while serving as members of client account teams. In 2020, Taylor has hired five (5) full-time HBCU interns and has committed to three (3) additional HBCU interns for the fall term. The agency has also partnered with UNCF on a number of educational initiatives and supports the organization’s annual fundraising events.
“I am very proud of the manner in which my Taylor colleagues came together to honor the HBCU Class of 2020,” said Tony Signore, CEO & Managing Partner of Taylor. “Over the past 15 years, I’ve had the honor and privilege of collaborating with HBCUs nationwide – administrative leaders, faculty and most of all, the students – and with each and every engagement, I come away filled with great pride, encouragement and inspiration.”
Applicants for the Taylor Loan Forgiveness Grant must meet the following criteria as determined by the UNCF:
- A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale at the time of their graduation from an accredited four-year HBCU, with degree completion within five years.
- An outstanding, cumulative student loan debt greater than 40% of their current annual income (from all sources) OR current monthly student loan repayment obligations greater than 25% of their current monthly income (from all sources).
Applicants who have graduated shall submit an online application for the program to UNCF with the following materials for consideration:
- One (1) letter of recommendation from an individual who can attest to the applicant’s involvement and contributions to their community.
- One-page (1) personal statement responding to the following:
- In at least 500 words, describe a world that you exist in where you are living your best debt-free life. Explain how this award would impact the world in which you live — family, professional, community. (maximum: 750 words)
- An official transcript demonstrating the applicant’s cumulative GPA. The transcript should indicate graduation date and degree attainment.
- Verification of all sources of the applicant’s current income through:
- Submission of the prior tax year transcript, requested from the IRS, showing only the last four digits of the applicant’s social security number.
- Letter(s) from all current employers confirming the applicant’s current income.
- Verification of all forms of student loan debt through loan statements from each provider that show the current balance.
“We are grateful to have Taylor launch this generous act of philanthropy for the Class of 2020. Most HBCU graduates walk away with an average student loan debt of $25,000 upon completion of college,” said Diego Aviles, Vice President, Fund Development, Northeast. “This program will help put some fuel in the tank as graduates embark upon their career path in a very challenging economy.”
Power in Your Purpose:
An HBCU Commencement Tribute
Written by Ranjani Gopalarathinam and Joel Daniels
What is purpose? Purpose brought you here.
All of you are here, from different walks of life, but with the same understanding that your purpose is inexplicably tied to the struggle it took to get here.
Look at your campuses—sculptures, paintings, statues of your forefathers, your ancestors, all reflecting their purpose and power back to you.
You understand this because you are unlike anyone else, and so is your struggle.
There is a spectrum to how we define our struggles, and how that helps to shape and define our purpose.
Maybe your parents weren’t affluent, maybe they were.
Maybe you’ve been depressed. Maybe you’ve struggled with your identity.
Maybe you’re first generation. Maybe you’re still figuring it out.
We cannot ignore the unique challenges you face that are not only due to this pandemic, but are also a direct result of living and working in a world that will attempt to limit your power, solely based on the color of your skin.
As black students, you’ve seen just how much strength there is in turning your struggle into an opportunity.
Things will not be easy for you. But, you are an HBCU graduate.
And you know better than anyone else that, in your purpose, also lies your power.
There is power in believing you can change the world.
There is power in taking what could have broken you and turning it into fuel for the road ahead.
There is power in taking the lessons you’ve been given and using them as tools to propel you forward.
There is power in not only obtaining a seat at the table, but leaving the door wide open …
… for the next community of seekers and scholars, for the doctors, lawyers, nurses and teachers, artists and thinkers, who will continue to keep the door open for others to follow behind.
Today, starting right now, you are redefining what power means to the world, not just for you but for generations to come.
You are not only the future, but you are the right now.
A powerful, more engaged right now. A right now that industries all over the country, and the world, desperately need …
… a power that enables; a power that elevates ALL the voices in the room; a power that leaves room for discourse, for change, and for growth.
So please, keep reimagining the world. Keep being driven by your purpose.
Keep using your voice to create the change you seek. Please, keep returning to your power—the innate source of your purpose. Keep showing up, not only for yourself, but for your community.
And, continue to harness your power in ways that are reflective of your values. Your power is unique, it is brilliant, and it is undeniably yours.
Thank you, and Godspeed.