Meet Kristin Tucker – Founder of HBCUs Still Matter
Meet Kristin Tucker! She is the founder of the scholarship organization @SupportOurHBCUs. I had the pleasure of interviewing her for our College Entrepreneur series. We spoke about the origins of the scholarship foundation and ways you can help to make it grow. The primary goal is to provide a scholarship for a deserving HBCU student. For more information, check out the interview below:
First and foremost, Thank you for creating such a wonderful organization to support our culture. For the people who are unaware, give us a quick rundown about your organization “Support Our HBCU’s.” How did the idea for your business come about and when did it become official?
The main idea for my business came about when I “borrowed” one of my mother’s old sweatshirts. My mother attended Morgan State University in the 80s and my father gave her a sweatshirt that said “University African American” on the front, with all the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) listed on the back. At first, I thought it would be cool to find the original designer to rebrand the concept. Time went on and I could not find the original creator; then Senate Bill 873 came about. For those who do not know, Senate Bill 873 called out The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Western Carolina University, Elizabeth City State University, Winston-Salem State University, and Fayetteville State University to dramatically cut tuition costs, and possibly change their names. Three of the five universities mentioned are HBCUs, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is an institution created for Native Americans, and to this day still serves mostly minorities. The proposed tuition costs would have more than likely forced the universities to become community colleges. Changing the university’s’ name would remove a part of their history. This is not the first time HBCUs have been attacked like this, and it will not be the last. So, I decided to act. A little impact goes a long way. I decided to help raise awareness of the history, importance, and significance of HBCUs through both a scholarship fund and selling T-shirts.
What are some of the roadblocks you ran into while creating “Support Our HBCUs?
Discouragement has been my biggest roadblock. Believe it or not, starting something like this is not an easy feat. It has taken a great deal of learning and acceptance to go through this. However, the struggles have only made me stronger.
How many employees do you have on hand for your business and what are the roles included?
I currently do not have anyone on paid staff. Everyone involved is volunteering out of their own free will. I have some people helping with the marketing aspect and others are helping with distribution.
How do you measure “success” for your organization?
I measure success for my organization by the impact. Whether it’s the discussions that are started and the awareness that is given as a result of the t-shirt or seeing people I do not know wearing the shirt proudly.
Where can we purchase apparel to support the scholarship?
You can purchase a t-shirt on supportourhbcus.com under the “shop” tab. All proceeds will go towards the scholarship fund!
Does your company accept donations or have any volunteer opportunities coming up?
Currently, all donations have been through the purchase of t-shirts. If you would like to donate through another avenue, please email email@example.com and we will be more than happy to assist you!
Where can students apply for the scholarship and what are the requirements?
In order to be eligible to receive the scholarship, you have to be enrolled in or planning to enroll in an HBCU and be able to show proof of enrollment. To apply, just visit supportourhbcus.com and click on the “scholarship” tab.
If you had one piece of advice for anyone starting a business, what would it be?
Stay strong. Starting a business or a nonprofit is hard. It is not easy, but it is worth it. If you love what you are doing, and if you have a vision, boss up and get it done. Do not be afraid to ask for help from credible people.
Stay True. Stay Real. Stay Black. – Trenton | Instagram/Twitter: @TrentonxPratt
Trenton Pratt20 Posts
Trenton Pratt is an experienced media personality hailing from St. Louis, MO. His journey as a media personality started back in 2012 with the development of a weekly YouTube entertainment series titled "The Vision." The YouTube series garnered over 70k views in only one year. Trenton's natural connection with the viewers led to him becoming a staple host at several live events around his hometown while he took a step away from the YouTube scene. Finally, Trenton's gravitating personality and infectious smile will be stepping back in front of the camera and behind the keyboard. He's still the same person... Just A Better Brand!