Birmingham Promise, the scholarship fund pioneered by Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, received three contributions of $1 million on Tuesday.
The Alabama Power Foundation, Altec/Styslinger Foundation, and Regions Bank made the three contributions.
“Every student deserves the opportunity to succeed,” Woodfin said, before adding that he was grateful to “our business community and academic partners for helping us put people first.”
Birmingham Promise was first unveiled by Woodfin in 2019. The idea is to create a fund that provides enough financial help that any student who graduates from a Birmingham public school can go to one of Alabama’s public universities tuition-free.
To qualify, students must first be accepted to one of those public universities.
To kick off the program, the City of Birmingham committed $2 million per year to the program for the first five years of its existence. The fund is dependent on both public and private funds if it is to succeed.
In order to clear legal hurdles, the United Way of Birmingham is acting as a conduit for the funds to get where they need to go.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham has also joined the program, that university now offers the Birmingham Promise scholarship.
“The Birmingham Promise is an important investment in the future of our workforce and the growth of our economy,” stated Tony Smoke, vice president of Alabama Power’s Birmingham Division. “I encourage others in Birmingham’s business community to get involved in this initiative and help elevate our students and our community.”
“Through Birmingham Promise, educators, city leaders, and the business community stand united around a tremendous opportunity to help more students succeed,” said John Turner, Regions president and CEO. “New investments are being made in today’s youth – investments that will benefit students, employers, and our entire community for years to come.”
“The Birmingham Promise is critically important to workforce development in our region,” Lee Styslinger III, chairman and CEO of Altec Inc. advised. “Altec joins the city, our educators, and business community in taking the next step to support building a better Birmingham through a commitment to our students.”
Turner, Styslinger and Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite will serve as fundraising co-chairs for Birmingham Promise.
The deadline for students to apply for the Birmingham Promise scholarships is March 3.
Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: email@example.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.