Kwanza Jones and José Feliciano Give Princeton a 20 Million Dollar Boost Towards a Brighter, More Colorful Future
Pristine, white, ivy-covered buildings. Colorful autumn foliage gently falling to the ground.
Classic dormitories where great minds gather to come up with groundbreaking ideas for a better tomorrow.
Sounds pretty dreamy, doesn’t it?
Well, before Kwanza’s Open Love Letter to Princeton, this was exactly the vibe that the Executive Board wanted the University to portray. An idyllic place where high-quality academics happen.
But Kwanza and José—actual Princeton POC alums—knew this wasn’t always the case.
A donor event where they were almost denied entry because of the color of their skin, and a racial slur from a fellow peer in her undergrad... This was the flipside of Princeton that nobody was acknowledging, but Kwanza and José knew this needed to be addressed.
So what did this power couple do? In typical SUPERCHARGED fashion, they put their money where their mouths were ($20 Million to be exact) and took #Real action.
Step 1) Creating the Kwanza Jones and José E. Feliciano SUPERCHARGED Initiative (KJSI)
Kwanza and José are impact investors—they see a lack of equality in opportunities and representation when it comes to education and entrepreneurship. They’re not okay with sitting by and watching the achievement gap grow. By investing in startups and organizations that dedicate themselves to a more diverse and colorful tomorrow, they’re changing the face of what we think of when we hear the word success.
Step 2) Looking Back on Their Own Education
Kwanza and José are big fans of the #Truth. They’re not out to defame Princeton or deny the positive effect it’s had on their lives. Their family members have gone there, their love story started there...but at the same time, we can not ignore the adversity many students of color face both on campus and in the world. The fight for equal opportunity and against systemic racism is BEYOND Princeton. And that’s what makes this bigger for KJSI.
Step 3) Pledging $20 Million to Create a Place of Belonging
Did Princeton provide Kwanza and José with a great education and a transformative experience? Yes. But do they feel that the University can do more for diversity and inclusion? Yes. And that’s where their $20 Million donation comes in. Because walking around a University where the names Rockefeller and Forbes are plastered on the buildings only enforces the message that a past Princeton didn’t include everyone. And Boost Friends™, if not everyone is represented, then how are they supposed to feel like they belong?
The $20M gift to Princeton will support a 500-student undergraduate expansion with the construction of two adjoining residential dormitories named the Kwanza Jones Hall and the José Feliciano Hall.
The adjoining dormitories are symbolic of the power of connection. The connection across cultures, communities, and unity around the world.
The donation to Princeton is not about the money—it’s about its impact. The true gift is a gift of belonging.
Ok, so you may not have $20 Million to drop for diversity and inclusion, but that still doesn’t mean you can’t help to create a sense of belonging for your community too!
Let’s be honest...real SUPERCHARGED allies are looking out for their Boost Friends every step of the way whether they look like them or not.
So now, we have a little SUPERCHARGED self-check for you:
- What are you CURRENTLY doing to improve your own community?
- What steps can you take TODAY to create a more equitable future for your community tomorrow?
We hope Kwanza and José’s story inspired you to take action and do what you can to improve the world.
Remember, small actions can lead to BIG changes
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