On Wednesday, May 10, The Home Depot awarded the grand-prize winners of the company’s Retool Your School competition at its Atlanta-based headquarters. The home improvement retailer launched the program in 2009 to help accredited Historically Black Colleges and Universities upgrade and renovate their campus facilities.
“HBCUs are under attack right now. Trump potentially wants to cut federal funding for HBCUs, so it’s imperative that corporations step in and fill a void. I am here because I support HBCUs and I am a product of an HBCU. The universities and colleges are American history,” said keynote speaker Hill Harper. Harper’s parents met at Howard University.
The Home Depot has proudly distributed nine grants totaling $360K. Each year, participating institutions are selected through an online voting process and clustered into three groups based on size and enrollment data. The winners are selected based on their proposals.
This year’s judges included Hill Harper, actor and New York Times best-selling author; Laz Alonso, Howard University alumnus, and film and television star; Dr. Ivory Toldson, president and CEO, QEM (Quality Education for Minorities) Network; Gregory Moore, Esq., commissioner, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC); Michael Tabb, managing partner, Red Rock Global; Jermaine Luke, store manager, The Home Depot; and Melissa Brown, manager, Multicultural Marketing, The Home Depot.
In the mid-class category, Kentucky State University received $50K, Tuskegee University received $40K and Central State University received $30K. Alabama State University won $50K in its class of large schools, followed by Howard University with $40K and Winston-Salem State University with $30K. And in its small-size class category, Wilberforce University won $50K, followed by Talladega College with $40K and LeMoyne-Owen College with $30K.
Photos credit: Lauren Martinez for Steed Media