UofM Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change Receives $20,000 Grant from SunTrust

August 7, 2017 - The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute at the University of Memphis has received a $20,000 grant from the SunTrust Foundation to support the Hooks African-American Male Initiative (HAAMI).

In 2015, the Hooks Institute launched HAAMI to increase the retention and graduation rates of African-American male students at the University of Memphis. Current data shows that for first-time, full-time students who graduated within a four-year period, African-American males have an average graduation rate of 10.6 percent, significantly less than all other groups. The Hooks Institute's efforts with HAAMI are intended to help create prosperity for African-American males, which in turn helps to collectively benefit the lives of all Memphians and create positive social change for the Mid-South and the nation.

The SunTrust Foundation grant will provide general operating support for the HAAMI program as well as personal finance education, which will benefit students during their course of study and beyond graduation.

"SunTrust Foundation is committed to helping everyone achieve financial confidence, and one of the first steps toward financial confidence is through education," said Johnny Moore, SunTrust Bank Memphis Region president and CEO. "The Hooks African-American Male Initiative is a key player in positively engaging African-American males and providing them the critical resources they need to complete the appropriate level of education, including professional development and financial coaching. This grant will ensure that we continue to build our community from the ground up by investing in this critical need."

"We are incredibly grateful to SunTrust Foundation for their ongoing, generous support of the Hooks Institute and our HAAMI program," said Daphene R. McFerren, executive director. "This funding will allow us to expand the program to include more students in the 2017-2018 academic year, as well as increase our focus on personal finance, which is so critically important.

About the SunTrust Foundation
The SunTrust Foundation is dedicated to the company's purpose of Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being by engaging organizations to advance financial confidence. Grants and activities focus primarily on financial empowerment, but also include education, health and human services, civic improvement and cultural growth. The Foundation supports American Red Cross disaster relief efforts and contributes as a United Way Global Corporate Leader. Established in 2008, the SunTrust Foundation has proudly provided grants totaling more than $100 million throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

About the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change
Our mission at the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change is to promote civil rights and social change through research, education and direct intervention programs. The late Benjamin Hooks, our founder, was an attorney and activist in the civil rights movement, former executive director of the NAACP and the first African-American commissioner of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. For 20 years, we've addressed disparities related to education, diversity and inclusion, economic mobility and civic engagement. To learn more about our current initiatives, visit our website at www.memphis.edu/benhooks.


Gabrielle Maxey