Pharrell Williams and Cedric the Entertainer Giveaway $5 Million to Educators

Cedric The Entertainer introduced the 2nd annual Luminary Awards for the initiative The 1954 Project

The show awarded $1 million to 5 education luminaries in the Black community. 

Now on its second installment, Cedric The Entertainer, whose mother was an educator herself, was joined by musician and fellow education advocate Pharrell Williams during the virtual awards show. The event was also co-hosted by actress Vanessa Bell Calloway.

According to the project’s partner organization, Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education (CAFE) Group, President Liz Thompson, they are also “funding an additional $250K to outstanding finalists to further support the vast ecosystem of Black-led education nonprofits.”

Nearly a third of the 1954 Project’s $100 million goal has been already raised by the initiative. This was made possible by the donations from various entities, such as:

  • CAFE’s Founders Don and Liz Thompson
  • John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Walton Family Foundation

Luminaries of the 2022 1954 Project

The 2nd annual Luminary Awards highlight was the 5 named luminaries who won $1 million in grants. These luminaries are divided into 3 categories, namely:

  • Diversity in Education
  • Innovation in Teaching and Learning
  • Economic Mobility

The Diversity in Education and Economic Mobility categories each had 1 named luminary. On the other hand, three luminaries were awarded for the Innovation in Teaching and Learning.

Here are the 5 luminaries for each category:

Diversity in Education

Adrinda Kelly supports Black educators in select Black-led schools in New Orleans. She was chosen by the 1954 Project for her advocacy for Black education for New Orleans.

Economic Mobility

Jerelyn Rodriguez teaches digital skills to bridge people from education to employment throughout the United States. She is also the CEO of The Knowledge House, a nonprofit based in South Bronx. Her organization aims to build a diverse pipeline of tech talent from low-income communities as part of her mission to eradicate poverty.

Innovation in Teaching and Learning

The Innovation in Teaching and Learning category named three luminaries for this year’s awards.

Firstly, Nikole Collins-Puri is the CEO of Techbridge Girls, based in Oakland, California. Her work has empowered many Black girls in underserved communities through STEM-based skills.

Secondly, Jamyle Cannon uplifts the lives of countless Black youth through the sport of boxing. He makes this possible through The Bloc, an organization he founded and serves as its executive director. According to its website, “The Bloc cultivates the love of boxing to share transformational resources with youth and communities.”

Finally, Will Jackson is the Chief Dreamer of Village of Wisdom, a capacity-building initiative for Black parents to navigate and cope with racial bias in schools.

Redesigning Philanthropy With Black Leaders in Education

The CAFE Group and The 1954 Project aim to broaden opportunities and philanthropy for Black people.