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Actor Laz Alonso, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed Announce Winners of 2017 Home Depot Retool Your School Grant

This week, The Home Depot® held the winners’ ceremony to announce the 2017 Retool Your School Campus Improvement Grant Program recipients. This year, nine HBCUs were awarded a total of $360,000 to use towards funding sustainable campus improvement projects of their choosing. To date, the program has awarded more than $1.8 million dollars in grant money to HBCUs. In 2017 alone, 72 HBCUs participated in the voting phase of the program.

Home Depot Retool. Photography by Christopher Aluka Berry for Ben Rose Photography.

Hill Harper/Home Depot Retool. Photography by Christopher Aluka Berry for Ben Rose Photography.

The nine winning schools were selected by a combination of cumulative online voting scores, along with grant proposals that were submitted by the schools and judged by a panel of distinguished judges which included: actor Laz Alonso, Howard University alumni and television & film star; Commissioner Gregory Moore, Esq., Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC); Mr. Michael Tabb, managing partner, Red Rock Global; Dr. Ivory A. Toldson, president and CEO of the Quality Education for Minorities Network; and Mr. Jermaine Luke, store manager, The Home Depot. The ceremony also welcomed author and NAACP award winning actor Hill Harper and special guest Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to the Home Depot Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

“The Home Depot is very excited about the continued growth we’ve seen year to year with The Retool Your School Grant Program,” says Melissa Brown, senior marketing manager at The Home Depot. “We always anticipate the overwhelming excitement of the program from the participating schools, but we are most excited about the long-lasting contribution that this program is making to our nation’s treasured Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”

Established in 2010, The Retool Your School Campus Improvement Grant Program strives to give back to our nation’s HBCUs what they have so generously given to the communities that they are a part of. A strong foundation, renewed purpose and distinctive character are just a few of those contributions. The nine winning schools will begin their sustainable projects in the summer of 2017.


The 2017 Home Depot RETOOL YOUR SCHOOL Winners

AWARD                                     CLUSTER 1                               CLUSTER 2                               CLUSTER 3

$50,000 Alabama State University Kentucky State University Wilberforce University
$40,000 Howard University Tuskegee University Talladega College
$30,000 Winston-Salem University Central State University LeMoyne-Owen College


Within each cluster, there are three winners vying for one $50,000, one $40,000 and one $30,000 grant. Clusters were based on school population size:

  • Cluster 1: Student enrollment of 4,000 or more
  • Cluster 2: Student enrollment of 3,999–1,201
  • Cluster 3 Student enrollment with 1,200 students or less

The Home Depot is the world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer, with 2,281 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico. In fiscal 2016, The Home Depot had sales of $94.6 billion and earnings of $8.0 billion. The Company employs more than 400,000 associates. The Home Depot’s stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: HD) and is included in the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index.

Home Depot Retool. Photography by Christopher Aluka Berry for Ben Rose Photography.

Home Depot Retool. Photography by Christopher Aluka Berry for Ben Rose Photography.

For more information on The Home Depot Retool Your School Grant Program, visit www.retoolyourschool.com.

What It Do With the LUE: M16 The Great

By Lue Dowdy

Rap artist M16 TheGreat is WHAT IT DO! Cash On Demand Music Group made it happen. Based out of the Inland Empire this newly formed music group is already turning heads and opening ears. I was able to attend an album release party held by the group which featured the release of their talented artist, ‘M16 TheGreat’ new album “LET DA STREETZ KNOW”.

The event took place in the city of Pomona at the‘M16 TheGreat’ and ‘Cash On Demand Music Group’. The night consisted of live performances by artists, Jay Iverson, YL$NMT, and Swazie, along with music provided by ‘DJ Muda’. I was able to conduct interviews and ask guest their view of the project.

The album contains hits such as, “January 28th”, “Where You From”, “Drippin”, “Pray for Me”, and more. Just by listening you can tell that M16 TheGreat put his all into it. Funny story, I met M16 two years ago in Dallas, Texas. Both of us were on our way to SXSW which is one of the largest film and music conferences in the world. I saw the hustle, the drive, and ambition in his eyes then and I still see it.

Make sure you follow this dude on all social media sites. Download the album ‘LET DA STREETZ KNOW’. You won’t be disappointed. Until next week Lz!