The Kristen Crozier, Omar Sykes, and Donald Hill Memorial Scholarship was named in honor of three former Howard students who passed away between 2012 and 2014.
“It took us a couple of weeks to get in contact with their families, but once we reached out, they were on board. They spoke on behalf of Omar, Kristen and Donald at our homecoming brunch where we presented the scholarship,” said Damilola Laguda, Director of Creative Strategy.
“It was very emotional. Many of us were in tears, but there was love across the board. When they sent their child to Howard, they gained a family. We will continue to support and uplift them in any way we can.”
In total, the families donated between $1,500 and $2,000 which helped the class award scholarships to six students. Additional funds–presented by the Hoop for All Foundation–were given to two cancer patients at Howard University Hospital.
Developing a Fundraising Strategy
With a 12-person committee spearheading the fund, it took only four months to reach their $10,000 goal. Without a class directory, the group took to social media to maximize their online fundraising efforts.
“Social media was really it all. We branded ourselves and marketed solely towards our class. We created playlists, had a unique hashtag and kept thinking of creative ways to reach everyone,” said Miyisha Tribble, Events & Corporate Partnerships Coordinator. “Since our social strategy was solely centered around the class of 2014, it was easy to pick up where we left off once we graduated.”
Partnerships with promotional groups who hosted various homecoming events also contributed to the total amount. Tribble partnered with Live Nation to provide the class with discounted Saweetie tickets. With a promo code, portions of ticket sales went toward the scholarship.
Events alone raised $1,200.
“We also partnered with GoHamHU and came with clear ideas about why this scholarship was important and how their events could also be profitable. Some events were percentage-based and some were a flat rate. They saw the financial gain but also showed so much support,” Tribble said.
“We also had happy hours in New York City, Atlanta and Philadelphia that contributed toward the scholarship. That helped everyone get involved in their own city,” added Gifts Officer Diamond Young.
Future Fundraising Goals
The class of 2014 has raised the most money out of all recent graduating classes. In May, the class of 1969 raised over $1 million for their 50th anniversary legacy fund. Their success became a huge inspiration for what the class of 2014 has planned in the future.
“Those are the goals we have down the line. This is just the beginning. We are going to take our fundraising efforts to the next level. We want to build upon Howard’s legacy,” said Dominique Perkins, Co-Director of Creative Strategy.
“As a class, we care about the community. Seeing the class of 1969 raise over a million dollars was very encouraging,” marveled Laguda. “Those are the goals we have for our 10-year and beyond. Service represents a key part of our identity. Howard raised us that way.”
In Truth & Service
Although the class of 2014 left the Mecca five years ago, the scholarship shows their continued testament to building upon the university’s legacy of truth and service.
“Every homecoming people spend a significant amount of money between outfits, parties and travel. We spend all of that to have good time. Are we matching that with what we’re giving back to the university? We need to push our class and all alumni to come together and raise money for Howard,” Young said.
“The scholarship is saying ‘I’m here to reinvest in the next generation’. We partied hard but we were about our service. We’re coming bigger and better for our 10-year reunion. Our goal is $100,000. The fact that we exceeded our expectations means we’re going to do it again,” bragged Tribble.
“As alumni, our goal should be giving back to Howard and making it a better experience for the people coming after us. We partied with a purpose and it yielded great results for us and the students,” said Perkins.
The class of 2014 continues to seek the embodiment of truth and service. Homecoming weekend was no exception.