Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jack and Jill is still making a difference in the lives of families. Jack and Jill of America Foundation President Charles W. Noble III, in conjunction with Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated National President Danielle Brown, promised to graduate students for commencements in May 2020 through the JJ College GAP (Graduation Assistance Program) Fund.This historic initiative was created with a long-term goal of disbursing $2M in the next ten years to deserving students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Natural Grocers, one of America’s leading natural and organic grocery retailers, stepped up to raise funds as the JJ College GAP Fund’s first corporate sponsorship. Through two innovative in-store campaigns, Natural Grocers exceeded fundraising goals and raised over $133,000 which will directly benefit students at two Texas HBCUs – Prairie View A&M University and Huston-Tillotson. In honor of Martin Luther King Day 2020, Natural Grocers directly donated $66,600 to the JJ College GAP Fund. Secondly, Natural Grocers’ customers had the opportunity to make direct contributions to the JJ College GAP Fund at any Natural Grocers store around the country throughout Black History Month, February 2020.
The Jack and Jill of America and Natural Grocers partnership is an unprecedented and groundbreaking initiative born of the shared values of both organizations to give back to the communities they serve. The fundraising initiative provides funding that directly supports HBCU students who are in good academic standing and on track to graduate but are faced with the ever-growing problem of tuition debt. Most of these students have balances between $50 and $1,500, but this is still too much for them to resolve before graduation. Natural Grocers has committed to these annual campaigns with ongoing sales-based giveback programs in select markets. Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and its members have committed to support Natural Grocers stores in states where there are chapters and or regional events, such as Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington. A complete list of Natural Grocers store locations can be found here.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities are institutions that were established prior to 1964 with the principal mission of educating Black Americans. These institutions were founded and developed in an environment of legal segregation and, by providing access to higher education, they contributed substantially to the progress Black Americans made in improving their status.
“Thank you to Natural Grocers and the Isely Family for your deep commitment to the communities you serve. Our JJ College GAP Fund will ensure that African American students are able to graduate college and go on to pursue their dreams at Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, TX and Houston-Tillotson University in Austin, TX,” commented Charles W. Noble III, Foundation President.
“We are grateful for the partnership with Natural Grocers and Jack and Jill of America Foundation which provides an opportunity to eliminate debt for students and allow them to graduate. This financial assistance is even more critical now that so many livelihoods have been impacted by this global pandemic. We remain committed to supporting HBCUs now and in the future,” said Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated National President Danielle Brown.
“We are thrilled that our Founding Principle of “Commitment to Communities” has led us to this memorable partnership with Jack and Jill of America,” said Kemper Isely, Natural Grocers’ Co-President. “We can think of no better way to honor that commitment than to see the funds we donated directly impacting young people in our communities by making sure they can graduate college.”
Join the Jack and Jill of America Foundation and Natural Grocers in making a college degree possible for HBCU students by closing the critical financial gap in order to obtain a college degree, by texting “CloseTheGap” to 44321 to make a donation or by clicking here.
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