Denny’s 2017 First Generation Fundraiser Program

The Tom Joyner Foundation and Denny’s Corporation, franchisor and operator of one of America’s largest full-service restaurant chains, are showing their love for first-generation college students with the launch of the “Tom Joyner Foundation – Denny’s First Generation College Scholarship Road to Success Fundraiser.”

Between March 1 and June 30, customers at participating Denny’s restaurants and supporters of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) from around the country will be able to donate to the scholarship fund. Details of the “Road to Success” fundraiser will be available at participating Denny’s restaurants as well promoted through traditional, online and social media. The Foundation and Denny’s have set up methods in which supporters may donate to the campaign via:

Online: Complete the form below

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Text to Donate: Using a smartphone, text “Dennys” to number 41444  or complete the mobile donation form below to make a donation to the fund for any amount

Students at select HBCUs will be able to apply for the scholarships starting Sept. 1, 2017 on this website. Follow the online application instructions. The Foundation will be reviewing applications and winners will be announced in December 2017. The selected HBCUs, along with the eligibility requirements for each scholarship, will be announced at that time, along with the following restrictions:

  • Eligible students must have already applied to an accredited HBCU and be admitted to be considered for the scholarship, or, they must already be registered as a full-time student;
  • Must be a United States citizen;
  • Must have at least a 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale;
  • Must complete a FAFSA and apply all other awarded grants and scholarships to be considered;
  • Complete the TJF/Denny’s First Generation Scholarship application.

“It is so important for these first generation students to have a chance to get an education,” said Tom Joyner, host of the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show and founder/chairman of the Foundation. “And, I’m particularly excited that they will have the chance to attend an HBCU.”

The Foundation and Denny’s have been longtime partners on various projects, including the brand’s ‘Hungry for Education’ scholarship program, which launched in 2013 as part of Denny’s continued commitment to help fight childhood hunger and promote education. To date, Denny’s has awarded more than $500,000 in combined scholarships to deserving elementary, high school and college students across the country.

The fundraiser was formally announced at the NAACP Image Awards Red Carpet Live, televised via TV One from Los Angeles. April Kelly-Drummond, director, diversity affairs and multicultural engagement for Denny’s, said: “We love working with the Tom Joyner Foundation and are particularly excited to assist first-generation college students,” she said. “We know that if these students can get a chance at an education, they will have greater opportunities to pursue their career interests and contribute to their communities in many different ways.”


The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that in the 2011-2012 academic year nearly a third of the undergraduates in colleges and universities were the first in their families to go to college. NCES also points out that over a lifetime, an average worker with a bachelor’s degree can earn $1 million more than a worker without a post-secondary degree.

The Postsecondary National Policy Institute says that many first generation students have lower household median incomes and greater financial needs than those who have at least one parent who has attended college. Additionally, the percentage of first-generation students borrowing federal money has more than doubled over the past 20 years.

Take a look at the commercial below aired on the 2017 NAACP Image Awards, February 11.

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