First Generation College Grads, Time To Give Back

Denny’s 2017 First Generation Fundraiser Program

So many of our peers are first generation college graduates.The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that in the 2011-2012 academic year nearly a third of the undergraduates in colleges and universities were the first in their families to go to college. Most of us recall how real the struggle can get while young, broke and trying to get a degree. I personally used grants and loans to survive college a few years later and several hundred Sallie Mae/Navient calls later I’m feeling the pain of compounding interest.

The Tom Joyner Foundation and Denny’s Corporation, franchisor and operator of one of America’s largest full-service restaurant chains, are showing their love for first-generation college students with the launch of the “Tom Joyner Foundation – Denny’s First Generation College Scholarship Road to Success Fundraiser.”

Between March 1 and June 30, customers at participating Denny’s restaurants and supporters of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) from around the country will be able to donate to the scholarship fund. Details of the “Road to Success” fundraiser will be available at participating Denny’s restaurants as well promoted through traditional, online and social media. The Foundation and Denny’s have set up methods in which supporters may donate to the campaign via:

  • Online: Scroll below to make a donation
  • Text to Donate: Using a smartphone, text “Dennys” to number 41444 to make a donation to the fund for any amount.
  • Just ask your server at your local Denny’s about how you can participate


Students at select HBCUs will be able to apply for the scholarships starting Sept. 1, 2017 on this website. Follow the online application instructions. The Foundation will be reviewing applications and winners will be announced in December 2017.The selected HBCUs, along with the eligibility requirements for each scholarship, will be announced at that time, along with the following restrictions:

  • Eligible students must have already applied to an accredited HBCU and be admitted to be considered for the scholarship, or, they must already be registered as a full-time student;
  • Must be a United States citizen;
  • Must have at least a 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale;
  • Must complete a FAFSA and apply all other awarded grants and scholarships to be considered;
  • Complete the TJF/Denny’s First Generation Scholarship application.

“It is so important for these first generation students to have a chance to get an education,” said Tom Joyner, host of the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show and founder/chairman of the Foundation. “And, I’m particularly excited that they will have the chance to attend an HBCU.”



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