From the desk of Jackson State University’s Newsroom
JSU netted $20,000 when a surge in last-minute support propelled it to victory during an HBCU cruise sponsored by the Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage and the philanthropic arm of the Ford Motor Company.
Tarita Davis, second vice president for the Jackson State University National Alumni Association, said HBCUs vied with each other in a “community challenge” for the most number of votes cast in seven days. Using Ipads provided by Ford, alums and supporters of their respective institutions were allowed to register and vote daily as often as they wanted until the competition was over.
Davis said she and a group of other people traveling with their families decided to attend the annual excursion.
“Once we were on the cruise, we learned of the competition and decided to rally alums, friends and family of JSU to participate. We were in heavy competition with FAMU (Florida A&M University), Howard, Grambling, Alcorn and Prairie View the entire week,” she said.
For a while, JSU languished near the bottom in the overall tally. “In the end JSU pulled it off and won. Now, JSU is $20,000 richer,” Davis said.
The purpose of the Fantastic Voyage, also known as the “Ultimate Party With a Purpose,” is to “empower, entertain and inform.” It offers musical and comedy acts, theme nights, empowerment seminars and other activities such as fitness and shopping.
This year, more than 3,500 people joined the eight-day cruise aboard Carnival Breeze, with travel to St. Thomas Virgin Islands, St. Maarten and Grand Turk.
The automobile company is the title sponsor of the voyage. Its Ford Fund supports such institutions because “HBCUs educate so many of our young people, and they play such as key role in preparing people for life,” the funding source said. “It’s important to support the school and support the kids who attend them. We support organizations like the Tom Joyner Foundation, the UNCF, of course, and the Thurgood Marshall Fund.”