Hip hop superstar Travis Scott has announced the launch of Project HEAL, a multi-faceted, long-term series of community-focused philanthropic and investment initiatives.
According to a press release obtained by EBONY, Scott has pledged $1 million in scholarships for about 100 students at HBCUs who have financial needs. The Waymon Webster Scholarship Fund will grant $10,000 scholarships to seniors who have reached academic excellence (averaging 3.5 or higher GPA), but who are facing the last-minute challenge of financial adversity in their second semester senior year—and risk not graduating. This is the second year that Scott has supported HBCUs and represents a tenfold increase.
Past recipients include students at Howard University, Morehouse College, Texas Southern University, Grambling State University, and Prairie View A&M University, the alma mater of Scott's grandfather where he also served as an educator. The scholarship is named after Scott's grandfather, Waymon Webster “to honor his lifetime of dedication to academic excellence.”
“My grandfather was an educator who made a difference in thousands of young lives throughout his life,” Scott said in a statement. “He is a major influence on me and countless others, whose dreams he believed in, whose hopes he invested in, and whose futures he made big. It’s in his spirit that we are creating projects and programs that will look to the future of our communities and create hope and excellence in as many lives as possible.
Jordan Webster, Project Manager at the Cactus Jack Foundation’s HBCU Program, Howard University student and sister to Travis Scott, noted the importance of education and HBCUs to their family.
“I know personally how deeply important my grandfather’s academic legacy at HBCUs is to Travis and to my entire family—my twin brother Josh also attends an HBCU, at Prairie View A&M University,” she said. “Travis creates hope and makes a real difference to 100 of our HBCU peers who will be able to graduate without going into crushing debt. As a third-generation HBCU student, I cannot be prouder to partner with Travis on the second year of this exceptional initiative.”
Nasire Branch, a recipient of the first annual Waymon Webster Scholarship and current Morehouse College student, said, “When I announced that I planned to attend Morehouse College, a lot of people told me I was making the wrong decision and that I’d be putting myself in too much debt. Thanks to the Cactus Jack Foundation’s support, I am one step closer to accomplishing my dreams of being not only the first in my family to attend an HBCU but the first to graduate with a four-year degree."
In addition to supporting HBCU students, the second pillar of Project Heal seeks to address the country’s skyrocketing mental health crisis—and focus much-needed resources to support services for young people in lower-income communities of color, many of whom have few available, accessible, affordable mental health options.
The third pillar, in conjunction with Travis Scott’s Cactus Jack Foundation, is a seven-figure expansion of the CACT.US Youth Design Center at TXRX Labs in Houston, a nonprofit space for young artists, designers, tech innovators which will provide them with free studio space, tools, job and apprenticeship training, youth education, and events. on program for the Center at the intersection of fashion, art, technology, and music, in partnership with an HBCU.
The fourth and final pillar seeks to address safety challenges for large-scale live events through funding the US Conference of Mayors Task Force on Event Safety and a tech-driven device currently in development. This solution is "a culmination of stakeholder inputs from key experts from the tech sector, government, emergency response, event management, health, and public safety experts."
Applications are now open online at cactusjack.foundation.