About VillagePledge
In the Spring of 2019, Multi-Billionaire, Robert F. Smith made an incredible promise during his commencement speech at Morehouse College. He would donate approximately $40 million to pay off the entire student loan debt of the graduating class. This announcement immediately went viral, sending shockwaves via both traditional and social media.
The announcement did more than just elicit cheers and inquiries: it also inspired. A group of HBCU alumni and supporters immediately began building a model that would allow everyone to have a hand in helping build, inspire, and support the next generation of HBCU students. VillagePledge aims to create an endowment for HBCU schools by raising funds from individuals and corporations to eliminate graduate’s tuition debt. With VillagePledge, we can all be a part of enriching our HBCU communities – no billionaire status required!
College Endowments
The Lifeblood of Our Institutions:
Endowments are pools of money that are invested, to financially support the institution in perpetuity. College Endowments exist to provide scholarships, reduce student debt burdens, improve and support research, recruit and compensate talented faculty and improve the overall infrastructure and campus facilities. Historically, HBCU endowments have been underfunded. The reasons are numerous, but VillagePledge was established to offer a solution. Endowments are truly the life blood of any institution of higher education to ensure its financial health for years to come.
We can all be a part of enriching our HBCU communities.
Board of Directors
Claude DixonAlabama State University
Claude Dixon is a native of Birmingham, Alabama where he attended Jackson-Olin High School. While in high school, he worked with a charitable camp program for seven years for inner city youth. He is a graduate of Alabama State University with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Marketing. His professional career has been in sales and marketing in digital advertising and served roles as an Account Executive to management. He also held the position of Regional Manager for National Technological University in Baltimore, MD in the education industry. Claude coached youth football for 7 years with a Non-Profit organization. He currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia and is married to Christal Bell Dixon with three sons, Caleb Dixon, Corey Dixon, and Caden Dixon.
Jeffrey ReevesMorehouse College
Jeffrey Reeves is a Plaintiff’s lawyer from Griffin, Georgia. Jeff has dedicated his career to service and believes strongly in the value of education. A graduate of The University of Georgia School of Law and Morehouse College, Jeff received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. His time at Morehouse was some of the best years of his life and he believes that nothing compares to the HBCU experience. He and his wife, Tamika, met in law school and moved to Delaware in 2010 where they currently reside with their 2 children.
Rodney McCord
Rodney McCord is a lifelong resident of Griffin, Georgia. He has served on the City of Griffin Board of Commissioners since 1994. Rodney holds the distinction of being the youngest Mayor in Griffin’s history. Rodney lends his time to many charities and civic organizations in his community. He has served as president of Griffin-Spalding United Way, Board Member of the Spalding Basketball Association (Volunteer Coach), Griffin-Spalding Development Authority, Spalding County Kiwanis, Anne Street Elementary Mentoring Program, Sam E. Hubbard Elementary Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students), Griffin-Spalding Athletic Hall of Fame, Griffin High School Athletic Department and Gordon State Advisory Board. Rodney Holds’ a bachelor’s degree from Mercer University in Atlanta, Georgia. Rodney is married to Dr. MeQuanta L. McCord. They are the proud parents of two sons, Jordan Ahman and Jalen Andrew.
The HBCU Experience
The Gateway to Success
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), are institutions of higher education for African- American students that have existed since 1837. Many of these schools started in churches and other small locations other than where they currently stand today. Each HBCU has a long and storied history in the United States. The term was created by the Higher Education Act of 1965, which expanded federal funding for colleges and universities.
This was the only option for African-American students for decades because they were not allowed to attend primarily white universities. Since the peak of HBCUs, the number of schools that still exist is quickly declining. Currently there are just over 100 schools and many struggle financially to maintain operations each year.
Academics
Only HBCU graduates understand the rigor and commitment it takes to perform well academically at these schools. The classroom sizes are smaller than at other schools and the professors really get to know the students and demand the best. HBCUs offer degrees in virtually every concentration ranging from liberal arts, trades and STEM.
Academics
Culture
There is nothing like the HBCUs culture! HBCUs have a certain spirit that exists on campus that simply can’t be explained. These schools are enriched in religion and tradition that exudes well after students graduate. HBCUs build women and men of integrity and character, who are leaders in their respective communities. And there is nothing like an HBCU Homecoming!
Culture
Greek Life
Pledging a Sorority or Fraternity at a HBCU can be the highlight of your college years. "The Divine Nine" definitely have a presence on virtually every campus. At the core of these organizations are a commitment to service and community involvement. The relationships forged will last a life-time.
Greek Life
Sports
There is a change in the landscape of HBCU athletics taking place right before our eyes. Many top athletic recruits are considering and committing to HBCUs. Our prediction: a national championship within the next 5 years! Games at these schools are more than events, they are experiences. HBCU “Classics” bring alumni from near and far for unbelievable tailgating. Did we mention the band?
Sports
Marching Band
When it comes to HBCU bands, there is a certain magic that exists in the sound and performances. The rigor and dedication that it takes to be part of one of these programs and perform at a high level can test your limits. Seeing the band can be the highlight of any football game. The tradition is REAL!!
Marching Band
Let’s pay it forward.
Be part of the solution!