Houstonians are joining the nation mourning the victims of the Astroworld stampede. And while the blame game runs rampant, many say the tragedy doesn’t negate the philanthropic work Travis Scott has done for the community.
Through his Cactus Jack Foundation, Scott has made it his mission to provide educational and creative resources for young adults in his hometown of Houston, bringing everything from scholarships to food drives to charity softball games.
Scott has even been honored with “Travis Scott Day,” proclaimed by Mayor Sylvester Turner to celebrate Scott’s music career and to honor his role as Houston’s ambassador for art, education and youth initiatives.
“Investing in our youth is one of the most important things we can do for our city,” said Turner in announcing the day. “Education and mentorship equip young people with the skills they need for a successful career path. I am grateful that Travis is partnering with the City of Houston to support our nationally-recognized My Brother’s Keeper program, which provides support for boys and young men of color. I also applaud him and his Cactus Jack Foundation for investing in the lives of young men and women by providing scholarships to cover their tuition at HBCUs. If we can turn around one person in one family, that positively impacts every neighborhood, which builds on the resilience and strength of our entire city.”
Here’s a look at some of Scott’s philanthropic efforts.
Waymon Webster scholarship progam – The Cactus Jack Foundation’s first initiative was a scholarship program to cover tuition for college students who were experiencing financial challenges during the pandemic. It’s named after Scott’s grandfather who attended Prairie View A&M University. Scott, born Jacques Berman Webster II, selected students at Morehouse, Howard, Texas Southern, Grambling State and Prairie View A&M.
“Waymon Webster was a dean of the Prairie View A&M graduate school. My grandfather wanted me to take it all the way through college. I feel there is a power in education so to be able to give someone the opportunity to fulfill that dream as my papa thought for me is amazing,” Scott said at the time of the launch.
Cactus Jack Gardens – Scott works with the City of Houston on the community-based agriculture program for local elementary schools. Two days before this year’s festival, he unveiled a new campus garden at Young Elementary as part of a collaborative effort to bring gardens to several HISD campuses across the city.
According to Scott, Cactus Jack Gardens will give students the opportunity to learn about agriculture, gardening, food and nutrition.
During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Scott dedicated the garden to his grandmother, Miss Sealie Terrell, who joined him for the ceremony. Within the garden sits Miss Sealie’s Corner, a gazebo dedicated to Scott’s grandmother.
The HISD Nutrition Services’ Get Growing Houston program teamed up with the foundation to install gardens at Alcott, Bastian, Rucker and Wesley elementary schools, Attucks and M.C. Williams middle schools and Washington High School.
Fashion Curriculum – Through a national partnership with The New School’s Parsons School of Design, the Cactus Jack Foundation brings its fashion curriculum to Houston through My Brother’s Keeper, an online certification program made available via scholarships. The Cactus Design Center is described as an innovative hub and transformational youth center connecting high school students to education resources, hands-on training and mentorship that will unlock new pathways to career, college and workforce opportunities in graphic and fashion design.
Winter storm emergency relief – During the winter storm earlier this year, Scott held a drive to help the city bring food to 50,000 Houston residents affected by the storm. Scott set up a contactless, relief event that took place at Willowridge High School. The weekend drive fed over 1,000 families. Each family was given proper PPE gear, fresh produce, water, canned food and masks. The relief initiative also provided home deliveries to other elderly citizens in Houston who were unable to attend the drive in person. Hundreds of meals also made their way to first responders throughout the city.
Turkey giveaway – Scott and the City of Houston teamed up to give out turkeys to families in Houston during Thanksgiving 2020. More than 1,000 turkeys were given to families in need. Scott also provided free mobile COVID-19 testing.
Sunnyside basketball court – The foundation partnered with Jordan Brand to unveil a new outdoor mural and basketball court at Sunnyside Park in an effort to revitalize the area. They also offered a basketball clinic for 75 fifth graders from the Sunnyside community.