August 6th Virtual Transform Westside Summit: Clark Atlanta University

The August 6th Virtual Transform Westside Summit featured a conversation between John Ahmann, President & CEO of Westside Future Fund, and Dr. George T. French Jr., President of Clark Atlanta University (CAU). The prestigious HBCU has recently made headlines as its administration announced the university would be forgiving student balances for the Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021 academic terms. Having just been featured on CNN, Dr. French joined the summit to share details on this well received effort to support students amid the pandemic as well as other exciting updates.

John Ahmann, President & CEO of Westside Future Fund (left), Dr. George T. French Jr., President of Clark Atlanta University

French noted the need for equitable educational and economic infrastructure to achieve the Beloved Community which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned, highlighting the importance of HBCUs in creating and bolstering the Black middle class. With the help of federal funds from the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), CAU was able to purchase laptops for every enrolled student and hotspots in addition to financial aid.

HBCU’s produce 80% of all Black Federal Judges, 50% of our Lawyers, 75% of all within STEM discipline,” French stated while emphasizing how relieving student debt helps propel them into sustained financial security and building generational wealth.

Rendering of the Propel Center

Dr. French went on share details on Apple’s $100 million commitment to erect and help operate the Propel Center, a future global tech and entrepreneurial hub for HBCUs to be located in the heart of the Atlanta University Center. “Globalization is the order of the day,” said French, “we have to expand in information, technology and communications.”

The summit closed with a replay of the CAU Philharmonic Society’s riveting performance during the 2021 NBA All-Star Game. Watch below.

Donate to Clark Atlanta University here.

Help support high-quality affordable housing and access to homeownership for legacy residents of Atlanta’s Historic Westside. Donate to Westside Future Fund here.