Travis Scott introduced Project HEAL, a multi-tiered, long-term philanthropy and investment effort centered on community initiatives.
$1 million in pledged scholarships for students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will be available to help students in need begin the process now. The Waymon Webster Scholarship Fund, thanks to Scott’s support, will award $10,000 scholarships to seniors who have achieved academic excellence (a GPA of 3.5 or higher) but are facing the last-minute challenge of financial adversity in their second semester senior year – and are at risk of not graduating. The scholarships will assist 100 students in crossing the finish line with their diplomas in hand. This is Scott’s second year of funding for HBCUs, and it represents a tenfold increase.
Howard University, Morehouse College, Texas Southern University, Grambling State University, and Prairie View A&M University – Scott’s grandfather’s alma institution, where he also served as an instructor – have all received awards in the past. Waymon’s award is named after him to celebrate his commitment to academic excellence throughout his life. Cactus Jack Foundation is now accepting applications online at cactusjack.foundation.
“My grandfather was an educator who made a difference in thousands of young lives throughout his life,” said Scott. “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.”
“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,” Jordan Webster, Project Manager at the Cactus Jack Foundation’s HBCU Program, Howard University student and sister to Travis Scott, 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.”
The second pillar of HEAL focuses on the country’s escalating mental health crisis, allocating much-needed resources to support programs for young people in low-income communities of color, many of whom have few adequate, accessible, and affordable mental health options.
Scott will give free programs with qualified professional counsellors and social workers thanks to seven-figure commitments to support digital counselling and telephone hotlines. Dr. Janice Beal, a mental health expert in Houston, will head the project with Scott’s help. Dr. Beal, the Programing Director of “Well Being in Color,” a peer mental health education program for students of color; in addition to her private practice, she recently developed mental health pipelines for the Houston Independent School District during the COVID-19 pandemic, is a member of the Mayor of Houston’s special needs task force, and advises US Congressmembers on youth mental health issues.
“Mental health has traditionally been a taboo subject. As life begins to return to normal, many young people are still suffering and need help to re-adjust after serious disruptions to their experiences at home, in school and within their community,” said Dr. Janice Beal. “With Travis Scott’s help, HEAL’s programs will help empower young people to overcome mental health issues and become the best they can be.”
The third pillar is a seven-figure expansion of the CACT.US Youth Design Center at TXRX Labs in Houston, a nonprofit makerspace for young artists, designers, and tech innovators that includes free studio space, work space, tool spaces, job and apprenticeship training, youth education, and events, in collaboration with Travis Scott’s Cactus Jack Foundation. Through a strategic online relationship with a historically black institution or university, HEAL will fund a new comprehensive creative design education program for the Center – existing where fashion, art, technology, and music converge.
The fourth and final pillar is to address large-scale live event safety concerns by financing the US Conference of Mayors Task Force on Event Safety and a tech-driven device that is now in development. This approach is the result of input from major stakeholders in the tech industry, government, emergency response, event management, health, and public safety.
This will be the first time that all of these stakeholders will collaborate to address the safety concerns that future large-scale events will confront, with a full report of recommendations as a result. HEAL will lobby for this report to be adopted as the new safety and security template for all festivals and large-scale events.