The University of Utah is receiving significant support for its efforts to further educational opportunities for marginalized populations in Utah and across the country. The NBA Foundation is pledging its financial backing to the university by contributing $50,000 to help fund work in the institution’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Partnership as well as the Black Cultural Center’s community initiatives. The HBCU program seeks to design and maintain partnerships with HBCUs to recruit, retain and promote diverse talent at the U and throughout our local community.
As a sponsor of the NBA All-Star Weekend, PepsiCo also announced it will make a $50,000 contribution that will help fund the BCC’s Operation S.U.C.C.E.S.S., a program aimed at providing leadership development, as well as valuable work experience, for students striving to address issues within the Black community. The grant will provide financial support for Operation S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and other BCC initiatives in the upcoming semester.
Operation S.U.C.C.E.S.S. is a joint effort between the BCC and Black Advisory Council that selects four S.U.C.C.E.S.S. fellows (two undergraduate and two graduate students) annually to participate in monthly skill-building sessions, develop strategic programming/projects and represent the BCC through the fall and spring semesters. The program culminates with a presentation of the fellows’ program proposals and a closing ceremony of the year’s programming.
“By preparing Black leaders with valuable skills and knowledge of operating within a predominantly White institution like the U, these students will be better equipped to change organizations to be more equitable and ensure they don’t fail Black people anymore,” said Meligha Garfield, BCC director.
“The HBCU Partnership Program and the BCC’s Operation S.U.C.C.E.S.S., still early in their development, are already showing promising levels of success,” said Mary Ann Villarreal, vice president for Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion. “They are vital for helping promote Black excellence and leadership at the U—and we are so excited to see them being recognized and supported in this way.”
“We appreciate the NBA Foundation’s financial contribution to the University of Utah’s Black Cultural Center and its Generation Next Program. This program is crucial for engaging students to be the authors of what they would like to be professionally—both during and after college,” Garfield said. “The funds given to the BCC will allow us to keep providing students with programming that offers them a holistic approach to networking and connections to entrepreneurs, working professionals, corporations and nonprofit organizations. It will allow us to nurture and inspire students to explore soft and hard skills outside of their major. And it will give them chances to connect with HBCU students both during the summer and at alternative events during spring break.”