Taco Bell is making sure to address the racial disparities in the access to scholarships and educational resources that affect students of color. According to a statement from Taco Bell, white school districts receive $23 billion more in scholarships than black school districts and black college graduates often graduate with more debt. To address this issue, the Taco Bell Foundation has awarded $4.6 million in scholarships, with half of their recipients being students of color.
Their Live Más Scholarships are given to students based on their passions, not academic merit or athletic ability. While most scholarships require essays, a high grade point average and letters of recommendations, this scholarship asks that students submit a two-minute video describing what they are passionate about. This year’s recipients include Dwalyn Bryant, a former Taco Bell employee who plans to study biomedical health at Penn State and become a surgeon, Zaniya Lewis who is a junior at George Washington University who has already founded her own non-profit called the Yes She Can Campaign and Miles Spearman, a trumpet player who plans to study biology and neurological diseases to help people with Alzheimer’s Disease through music and medical research.
This year there were 531 winners, including 176 customers, 96 Taco Bell Restaurant employees and 259 winners who have won in previous years.
The Taco Bell Foundation is committed to awarding $21 million in scholarships by 2021. This year, they hit the $10.7 million mark. The $4.6 million awarded this year marks the most money the foundation has awarded since starting this initiative four years ago.