How Home Depot Gives HBCUs a Financial Boost; 4 Ways You Can Help, Too

Dr. Leslie Baskerville, president, National Association for Equal Opportunity In Higher Education; Gregory Moore, commissioner, SIAC; Melissa Brown, manager, multicultural marketing, The Home Depot; Justin Durant, NFL linebacker, Detroit Lions; Monica McCluney, director, corporate alliances, United Negro College Fund; and Laz Alonso, film and television actor

Home Depot invests in education.

The world’s largest home improvement retailer recently announced the 2012 recipients of its popular RETOOL YOUR SCHOOL Campus Improvement Grant Program. Now in its third year, this initiative was designed to specifically reinvigorate Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and support the sustainability movement by providing special consideration to eco-friendly project proposals.

“The RETOOL YOUR SCHOOL program continues to grow each year. Receiving more than 1.75 million votes this year, the HBCU community really galvanized their students, alumni and social networks to encourage their supporters to vote,” states Melissa Brown, manager, multicultural marketing, The Home Depot. To date, 22 schools have received $300,000 in grants from the company.

“This was the most inspiring contest for me as a judge,” says Justin Durant, NFL Player for the Detroit Lions. “As an HBCU alumnus, I was so impressed with the institutions and how passionate and committed the teams were to this project. The designs and plans submitted to restore, to renovate or to make their learning environments more comfortable and attractive were not just for the faculty and student body, but for the entire community. The RETOOL YOUR SCHOOL experience is not just an investment in the school; it is an investment in a tradition.”

Here are four ways you can be a leader and become a part of efforts that will have a lasting impact are your academic institution.

Stay abreast of economic opportunities: More than 60 HBCUs competed for grants totaling $185,000 for sustainable on-campus improvements. Thirteen institutions were selected including Lincoln University of Pennsylvania who will receive the grand prize, a $50,000 Tier I Grant to restore the exterior and entryway of Lincoln Hall, one of the most historic buildings of the University; and Alabama A&M garnered top honors as this year’s first-ever Campus Pride Grant winner and will receive $25,000 for the Huntsville-based HBCU. The $10,000 Tier II Grant winners include: Cheyney University, Cheyney, Pa.; Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Mo.; Knoxville College, Knoxville, Tenn.; Fisk University, Nashville, Tenn.; Howard University, Washington, D.C.; Gadsden State Community College, Gadsden, Ala.; Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Ala.; Texas College, Tyler, Texas.; Benedict College, Columbia, S.C.; Denmark Technical College, Denmark, S.C.; and Miles College, Fairfield, Ala. RETOOL YOUR SCHOOL winning projects will begin in Fall 2012. Your school should be on next year’s list.

Spread the news: This year, the RETOOL YOUR SCHOOL program received an outpouring of support from HBCU alumni, family, friends and the community, who all joined together to show their school pride and spirit as they voted online for their favorite HBCUs and projects to make an impact for generations to come.

Write a sound and environmental sustainable business plan: With the goal of issuing grants for projects that have a lasting impact; this year’s winning projects include installation of eco-friendly turf, repairing an athletic field and improving landscaping. As the competition continues to gain momentum, schools have really worked hard to submit proposals for projects that can be done within the budget parameters, while also enhancing their campuses for generations to come.

Get started today: For more information on the RETOOL YOUR SCHOOL program, visit

Yvette Caslin
Yvette Caslin

I'm a writer, image architect & significance marketer. Love photojournalism, creative expression & originality.

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