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McDonald’s USA is Helping Remove Financial and Mental Health Barriers for HBCU Students by Giving Them Access to Wellness Resources in Addition to Scholarships

Between class work, finances, the pandemic and stress about finding a job, students have a lot to worry about, especially Black collegians. In fact, in a recent studyi of Black college students conducted by McDonald’s, three in four respondents acknowledged struggling with symptoms of anxiety or depression.

To help students relieve some of their worries and provide access to needed support, McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Scholarship Program is awarding $500,000 in scholarships to 35 students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), as well as lifetime memberships to Shine, a leading minority-owned stress and anxiety management app.

“We take seriously the opportunity we have to help our future Black leaders succeed,” said Marty Gillis, New Jersey McDonald’s Owner/Operator and a National Diversity Marketing Committee Lead. “The intense and sustained financial and emotional challenges of the past two years have been difficult for many Black students, which is why McDonald’s and our Owner/Operators are committed to meeting them where they are by providing resources and support, in addition to scholarships.”

In the study, more than 72 percent of respondents said they would have liked to speak to a mental healthprofessional, but didn’t, and 46 percent found it too difficult to find a mental health professional with whom they were comfortable talking. Through the Shine partnership, not only will the 2021 scholarship recipients receive lifetime app memberships – providing access to personalized self-care tools – they will also be able to offer one to a friend. Additionally, each of this year’s 1,400 scholarship applicants will receive a one-year membership courtesy of McDonald’s.

“Inclusivity and representation in mental health are so important. But barriers to access, which are typicallyfinancial, make these resources unattainable for many,” said Marah Lidey, cofounder and co-CEO of Shine. “This partnership is a powerful opportunity to break down some of these walls, not just for McDonald’s scholarship recipients, but for Black students across the country.”

To support Black college students nationwide, McDonald’s, Shine and the “culture’s psychologist,” Dr. Jessica Clemons, will host a free 30-minute, virtual roundtable: Real Talk: A Candid Conversation on Black Mental Wellness & College on Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. ET. During this virtual event, students can engage in a meaningful conversation on mental health, its impact in the Black community, and self-care strategies that include tips onaccessing resources.

Building on a 20-year partnership with TMCF, the McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Scholarship Program was created in 2020 to help HBCU students continue their education amid COVID-19, which caused financial strain on many families. Financial strain remains an issue as the McDonald’s survey revealed that personal finances are asource of stress and anxiety for 45 percent of Black students, highlighting the need for ongoing financial andemotional support.

McDonald’s and TMCF have awarded more than $1M in scholarships to HBCU students since the program’s launch. Scholarship recipients will also receive school supplies including a tablet, backpack, and more, to help withtheir day-to-day studies.

“TMCF is committed to holistically supporting HBCU students and removing barriers they may encounter on the road to graduation,” said Dr. Harry L. Williams, Thurgood Marshall College Fund President & CEO. We know that many students experienced unforeseen financial hardships that put their plans for pursuing higher education in jeopardy. We are pleased to continue our 20-year relationship with McDonald’s to build upon our shared commitment to our students, who have persisted in their educational journey despite difficult circumstances.”

For more information on the 2021 scholarship program,

visit For more information on the Shine app,

Following are the 2021 McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Scholarship recipients:

  • Ada Umeugo (New Haven, Connecticut) attending Howard University
  • Airis Aaron (Nashville, Tennessee) attending Howard University
  • Alayna Santos (Durham, North Carolina) attending Howard University
  • Aria Brent (Columbus, Ohio) attending Jackson State University
  • Asia Bradley ( Louis, Missouri) attending Howard University
  • Ayana Sallee (Chesapeake, Virginia) attending Howard University
  • Caleb Weeks (Concord, North Carolina) attending North Carolina A & T State University
  • Darren Rippy (Richmond, Virginia) attending North Carolina A & T State University
  • Earl Robinson (Richmond, Virginia) attending Winston-Salem State University
  • Erin Foster (Atlanta, Georgia) attending Spelman College
  • Eve Morency (Queens, New York) attending Howard University
  • Imani Phillips (Chicago, Illinois) attending Tuskegee University
  • Imani Romney attending Winston-Salem State University
  • Jadora James (Newnan, Georgia) attending Spelman College
  • Jahia Collier (Chicago, Illinois) attending Hampton University
  • Jalani Paterson (Mesquite, Texas) attending Grambling State University
  • Jordan Boyd (Union, New Jersey) attending Morgan State University
  • Joseph Editone III (Denver, Colorado) attending Prairie View A & M University
  • Marveon Mabon (Los Angeles, California) attending Morehouse College
  • Megan Lee (Augusta, Georgia) attending Tuskegee University
  • Nasir Barnes (Deerfield, Massachusetts ) attending Morehouse College
  • Norre Emmanuel (Brooklyn, New York) attending Clark Atlanta University
  • Nyla Sams (Long Island, New York) attending Florida A&M University
  • Paige White (Champaign, Illinois) attending Spelman College
  • Parisia Hutchinson (Newburgh, New York) attending Howard University
  • Robynn Harrison (Fairfield, California) attending North Carolina A & T State University
  • Salahudeen Robinson (Minneapolis, Minnesota) attending Prairie View A & M University
  • Shakiayah Sanders (Brooklyn, New York) attending Florida A&M University
  • Shannay Porter (Eastham, Massachusetts) attending Clark Atlanta University
  • Sheridan Davis (Dallas, Texas) attending Spelman College
  • Simone Josey (Wilmington, Delaware) attending North Carolina A & T State University
  • Stevi Green (Augusta, Georgia) attending North Carolina A & T State University
  • Sylonna Johnson (Inglewood, California) attending Hampton University
  • Zion Lampley (Jacksonville, Florida) attending Florida A&M University

About McDonald’s Education Efforts 

McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden HBCU Scholarship Fund is just one of many company initiatives created to serve up bright futures and provide opportunity for education and skills in the communities we serve. These efforts also include the Black & Positively Golden Mentors Program which provides up-and-coming talent with one-on-one coaching from esteemed industry leaders; the HACER® Education Tour, which provides information to help navigate the college application process; the diplomas2Degrees partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of America to familiarize teens with post-secondary education opportunities; and the Archways to Opportunity program, which provides educational resources to eligible crew at participating U.S. restaurants. Together, with our Owner/Operators, we are committed to feeding and fostering our communities.

About McDonald’s USA

McDonald’s serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to more than 25 million customers every day. Ninety-five percent of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operatedby businessmen and women. For more information, visit, or follow us on Instagram at@WeAreGolden and

Facebook To learn more about the Black & Positively Golden initiative,

Trademarks and/or registered trademarks used herein are owned by their respective companies and organizations.

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