Verizon $300K grant bolsters Houston Equity Fund, TSU
Rose Stuckey Kirk, president of the Verizon Foundation.

The Houston Fund for Social Justice and Economic Equity (Houston Equity Fund) recently announced that it is a recipient of a $300K grant from Verizon Foundation. The Houston Equity Fund will utilize the grant to support diverse-owned small businesses in the Houston area and youth empowerment and education efforts within the entrepreneurship program at Texas Southern University (TSU).

“We’re so proud to be the stewards of that gift in working with closely with Texas Southern university on their programs,” said Thomas Jones, president of the Houston Equity Fund. “The nonprofits that we are supporting through this contribution are enacting great programs, which align with the pillars of our organization. The programs support community building, economic development, youth empowerment, education, and social and racial justice.”

Several city officials, including Mayor Sylvester Turner, were on hand to celebrate the grant.

“Verizon, your contribution to the Houston Fund for Social Justice and Economic Equity allows us to continue fueling traction towards economic development for our communities by making an investment in Texas Southern University’s programs which focus on small businesses and financial literacy,” said Turner. “This investment by Verizon and to the Fund will allow continued opportunity to support organizations and non-profits as they seek to be innovative, expand and evolve in a way that meets the needs of our community.”

Rose Stuckey Kirk, president of the Verizon Foundation, and member of a five-generation family of HBCU graduates, was on hand representing the grantors.

“This opportunity to be here, to ensure that we can fund, and we can partner with you to drive opportunity in this community and in this city, in the fourth largest economy in the nation, was really important to us at, at Verizon,” said Kirk. “So, our $300,000 is a thank you. It’s a thank you for what you do to ensure that we can be a part of a growing and thriving community.”

The Houston Equity Fund and Verizon Foundation will work in tandem with Texas Southern University to support economic development as well as youth empowerment activities at Third Ward-based HBCU, to the delight of TSU’s president, Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, whose remarks reflected on her meetings with Kirk that helped facilitate the celebrated support.

“When I met Rose, we had a conversation about transforming lives,” said Crumpton-Young. “And we had a conversation about Verizon continuing to be a partner in that transformation. And I’m so thankful that today is an example of what true partnership efforts can mean on a college campus.”

The TSU School of Business’s Gerald B. Smith Center for Entrepreneurship will be the direct recipient of the collaboration’s funding. Gerald Smith, for whom the center is named, was also on hand to show appreciation.

“We look forward to making a difference in utilizing these funds to make sure that entrepreneurship thrives in a way that we all expect for it to,” said Smith.