As COVID-19 continues to impact all aspects of life, the education system appears to be the latest victim. Safety restrictions created as a result of the virus have unfortunately caused many HBCUs to cut their sports programs. Tournaments have been affected just as heavily, but American Honda was able to find a silver lining.
Annually, American Honda looks forward to hosting their Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC), the leading academic competition for HBCUs. This year, about 250 students from 48 HBCUs were looking forward to traveling to California to compete in the 31st annual HCASC. As the virus began to grip the nation, sadly Honda was forced to cancel everything.
But now, instead of one HBCU coming out on top this year, they all win! Honda was able to flip this misfortune by adding 10 more HBCUs to the 48 schools originally competing and donate to them all. The funds from the cancelled National Championship Tournament are now being dispersed into the communities of all 58 schools.
Honda has formed partnerships with all 58 HBCUs to directly address disparities caused by the COVID-19 epidemic. Among those initiatives are food insecurity, as well as providing medical support to the families, homeless, and senior citizens who need it most. Frontline healthcare workers serving HBCU communities have also been given coveted personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies to do their work safely.
Since these partnerships began on May 1, 2020, Honda has been able to provide $325,000. Considering the outreach to HBCU communities, this is a really big deal. Across 20 states, over 108 organizations have been able to service these communities in need.
The team at American Honda couldn’t be prouder of the success of these partnerships. Alexandra Warnier, manager of Corporate Social Responsibility for American Honda, said,
“We have a long term relationship with the nation’s HBCUs, so we really wanted to support them, as well as the HBCU community during the pandemic.”
Partnering HBCUs are just as overjoyed about the reallocation of funds.
The COVID-19 testing site at the Florida A&M University-Bond Community Health Center has conducted over 10,500 tests since late April. The funds have allowed them to open the testing site to everyone, and also feed the staff and volunteers supporting the testing.
At Howard University, the funds have allowed for the campus food pantry, called The Store @HU, to be restocked. Howard senior and HCASC team captain Jess Agyepong raved about the restock by mentioning how students could now focus on school instead of going hungry. “This boost of support for students is much appreciated in light of our extraordinary circumstances.”
Paine College used their funds to give a much-needed boost to the Augusta, Georgia community by targeting a specific organization. Paine College president Dr. Cheryl Evans Jones is elated for her school to be leading others in the right direction.
“Recognizing the need to address food insecurity, especially during this pandemic, the contribution to the Golden Harvest Food Bank was a good choice and the College was delighted to be able to assist.”
Daniel Bascelli, Spelman College’s Honda Campus All-Star Challenge Coach, acknowledged how Honda is both donating and leaving a good impression on students.
“We value this timely support to the larger community in which Spelman College is situated. Honda’s corporate outreach and direct assistance to communities in need is a model for our Spelman students as they go forward into positions of leadership and responsibility,” he said.
For over 30 years, Honda has encouraged HBCU students to dream big, and continues to provide the resources necessary for them to succeed. While the HCASC Championship provided valuable funds this year, Honda has a long list of examples showing how they lead change. Over $12 million in grants have been donated to boost HBCU education programs and improvements at their facilities. The infamous Honda Battle of the Bands (HBOB) has also paraded HBCU talent for years. As a member of the HBCU Partnership Challenge, an initiative by the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus, more meaningful partnerships are fostered between HBCUs and government entities. Honda also has partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, providing annual scholarships to HBCU students pursuing engineering, supply chain management and manufacturing-related careers.
To learn more about how Honda’s initiatives have helped communities like yours, please visit here.