Charity raises £1.5m to ‘change 150 young lives’ through education

At least 150 young people from underprivileged backgrounds will be funded through higher or further education after a charity campaign raised more than £1.5 million.

The Black Heart Foundation launched the Each Day, Every Day campaign at the height of the recent Black Lives Matter protests to help combat educational inequality, aiming to raise £500,000 from a crowdfunding effort with a promise that the board would match all donations.

The crowdfunder has now passed £500,000 and, with an extra £500,000 donated by Stormzy’s Merky Foundation, the charity will be able to increase the number of young people its Black Heart Scholarship Programme has helped from 100 to 250.

Former Black Heart scholar David Ejim-McCubbin
(Black Heart Foundation)

Black Heart Foundation founder Ric Lewis said: “Every single pound donated says ‘this time is different’ and everyone who has donated has taken a concrete step in being part of the change we want to see in our world.

“We will go and change 150 more young lives, creating a ripple effect across communities that have been left behind for too long.”

The scholarship was created in 2013 and aims provides gap funding for young people from under-resourced and under-represented communities, and has helped scholars attend institutions ranging from Oxford University to commercial flight school.

Former scholar David Ejim-McCubbin, a civil servant at the Ministry of Justice, received funding to complete a masters degree in political theory at University College London, which he said would not have been possible without the foundation.

“It wouldn’t have been an option, frankly,” he told the PA news agency. “Seldom do I know anyone – friends or acquaintances where I grew up – who had done a masters.

“Simply that reality wasn’t one that I was familiar with, and even when I was aware of the possibility to do so, the funds were not quite there.”

Since its launch, the scholarship has funded 100 young people, 85% of which have been black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) and 60% of which have been female.

Mr Ejim-McCubbin grew up in Newham, east London, and said the educational expectations in his community were “you complete primary, secondary, maybe go to sixth form”.

Part of the philosophy of the Black Heart Foundation is the “ripple effect” scholars will have within their own communities, both acting as an example for others and actively giving back.

Ric Lewis, founder of the Black Heart Foundation
Black Heart Foundation founder Ric Lewis says the charity will now change 150 lives (Black Heart Foundation)

And Mr Ejim-McCubbin believes the 150 new scholars made possible by the fundraising effort will have a wide-reaching positive effect.

He said: “I’m of the view that education is perhaps the most significant key in social mobility and driving that forward, so you can only imagine with each of these individuals in the future who will benefit from this that the ripple effect from each individual will be significant.

“If 150 people now will benefit from this fundraising, you can only imagine how many boroughs, communities, inner-city areas will now have a somewhat visible testimony of support from this foundation.”

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