GraceKennedy Foundation awards over $21-m in scholarships, pledges $5-m more for digital devices

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GraceKennedy Foundation awards over $21-m in scholarships, pledges $5-m more for digital devices

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — GraceKennedy Foundation (GKF) announced this afternoon that it has awarded scholarships valued at over $21 million to 92 Jamaican students of tertiary institutions for the 2020/21 academic year. The recipients were announced in a virtual awards ceremony held yesterday, October 26.

During the ceremony, Senator Don Wehby, CEO of the GraceKennedy Group, also announced that the company would be donating $5 million worth of digital devices to schools by the end of the year through its GK Cares Tools for Schools initiative, with a special allocation being made for tertiary students.

In his remarks, Wehby explained how pleased he was that GraceKennedy was offering much needed support for students at such a challenging time and spoke about the company's longstanding passion for education.

“Even before the pandemic, modern technology was transforming how we learn and communicate. I often say that crisis brings opportunity for change, and COVID-19 has shown us that. The pandemic has propelled Jamaica's education system into the future [and] GraceKennedy is committed to doing its part to bridge the technological gap, by equipping schools and students for a rapidly changing digital world,” he said.

Last month, the company donated 210 devices — tablets for students and laptops for teachers — in the first phase of Tools for Schools. The second phase of the initiative will bring GK's total donation of digital devices for schools in 2020 to over $10 million. The donations, the company said, have also coincided with the launch of the foundation's Ace with Grace initiative, where GK Scholars will provide online tutoring to primary and secondary school students throughout the school year.

GKF has been awarding scholarships to Jamaican students for over 35 years, with more than $100 million invested over the last six years.

The 2020 awards have been made to students pursuing first degrees at The University of the West Indies, the University of Technology, Jamaica, Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts, and Caribbean Maritime University. This year's cohort includes 20 new awardees, 23 final-year scholars, and 49 renewals. Scholarship recipients must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 and complete volunteer service to be eligible for renewal.

Briana Williams, World Under-20 100- and 200-metre champion, GK Foods Ambassador and guest speaker at the awards also encouraged the awardees to keep working hard and be patient.

“Your actions today are building your tomorrow; make it a bright tomorrow,” she said. She also explained the importance of a good support system. “The company you keep is very important on the road to success. Be around people who truly want the best for you and who will push you to greatness,” she said.

In her presentation, CEO of GKF Caroline Mahfood commented on the 2020 GK scholarship selection process and online awards. “It's definitely very different to what we have done in the past, but we felt that neither the rain or COVID-19 was going to stop us from honouring you all today. This year's scholarship interviews were conducted via Zoom and had its challenges for sure, but we made it through and selected some outstanding students,” she said.

The GraceKennedy Foundation was established in 1982 to mark the 60th anniversary of GraceKennedy & Company Limited. Its work focuses on promoting healthy lifestyles, educational development, and the protection of the environment.

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