The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation has announced a $2 million commitment to support scholarships for Black, African and African American students, including those at Morehouse College, Spelman College and 10 additional historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) through the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).
These scholarships, funded by the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation, align with and build on Ralph Lauren Corporation’s commitments to address systemic racism and racial injustice by creating more pathways for equity within the fashion industry and beyond, beginning with education.
“Students represent the best of the human spirit – passion, curiosity and boundless dreams,” said Ralph Lauren, Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Ralph Lauren Corporation. “When all students have an equal chance to succeed, their dreams become realities and inspire us all.”
“The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation works to make the dream of a better life a reality by championing equity and investing in historically underserved communities,” said Roseann Lynch, Ralph Lauren Corporation’s Chief People Officer and Head of the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation. “Our hope is that these scholarships will deepen pathways of access to education for our future leaders and help enable them to pursue their own dreams.”
“Morehouse has a common cause with partners like the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation who believe that equity begins with education,” said David A. Thomas, Ph.D., Morehouse College president. “Through educational investments, which help elevate the creativity and professional competence of talented students of color, we today empower the innovators who will develop the fashions, products and services the world will demand tomorrow.”
“This new scholarship will allow high-achieving students in need of financial support to graduate with less debt, ready to step into their careers,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman College. “We’re extremely proud to join forces with the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation in its effort to increase equity and access in the fashion industry.”
“We are delighted that the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation is expanding its partnership with UNCF and increasing its investment this year to provide more scholarships for African American students,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. “African American communities remain disproportionately impacted by the lack of resources needed to go to and through college. Recognizing that need, the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation is fueling our ability to move the needle further for deserving, talented students who want to earn degrees, but just lack the resources to do so.”
In addition to Morehouse College and Spelman College, Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation scholarship grants will benefit eligible students at 10 HBCUs over a five-year period. In collaboration with UNCF, those institutions will be selected using criteria including current unmet funding needs, enrollment rates, proximity to Ralph Lauren Corporation’s U.S. operation centers and institutions that have disciplines and curricula that foster careers in the retail industry. Extending the reach of the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation’s scholarship programs, each scholarship will encourage community service participation.
This effort supports institutions whose values are aligned with those of both Ralph Lauren Corporation and the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation – including dreaming of and pursuing excellence, committing to inspiring and enacting meaningful social change and a devotion to compassion for and service of others.
As a part of Ralph Lauren Corporation’s Global Citizenship & Sustainability goals and its commitment to building a diverse, inclusive and equitable culture, the Company’s work with HBCUs also includes facilitating career pathways for Black talent through internship, recruitment, mentorship and development programs – efforts that are deepening as partnerships with educational institutions and external organizations evolve.
Additionally, in November, the Company launched the Ralph Lauren Pin of Solidarity to consumers in North America. Created by Ralph Lauren’s Black Advisory Council, the pin is intended to be a tangible, timeless symbol of allyship with Black, African and African American communities. One hundred percent of the profits from the sale of each pin will be contributed to the Company’s separate UNCF Ralph Lauren Scholarship Program. The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation is also an annual sponsor of the UNCF Walk for Education.