Kamal Gray, Jahri Evans and Michael Harris gave Neumann $25,000 for scholarships on October 18. The funds will be used to support current Neumann students who need financial assistance to continue their pursuit of a degree.
Gray is the keyboard player for The Roots, a Grammy Award-winning hip-hop group and
house band for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Michael Harris is president and CEO of Best Sports Consultants, and Jahri Evans is a former NFL player and Super Bowl winner with the New Orleans Saints.
The three selected Neumann University to receive their gift because it is one of five American colleges participating in the launch of SponsoredScholar, a program that empowers college students to initiate personalized fundraising campaigns to help pay for tuition.
The platform provides guidance for students to tell their stories, customize their crowdfunding audiences, and securely route donations directly to the college. Neumann is the only SponsoredScholar university in the Philadelphia area, and all three donors are natives of the city.
After the check presentation, the trio spent an hour speaking with 50 students, faculty and staff in the Sora Luna Café. The conversation, ably hosted by Neumann Media students Jake Loburak and Alexis Lomax, covered topics ranging from faith and smart phones to vaping and the music industry.
Asked what advice they would give to an 18-year-old student, Gray offered “listen and learn, especially from people who have experience.” Evans told students to “build your foundation on morals and ethics and learn every day.” Harris emphasized his faith in God and advised students to “do what you say you are going to do.”
After the free-wheeling interview, the donors joined several students who had used the SponsoredScholar program successfully for an intimate lunch in the Devine Hospitality Suite.