La La Anthony has teamed up with McDonald’s in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to provide $500,000 in scholarships to HBCU students through the Black and Positively Golden Scholarship program.

Incoming and current HBCU students have the opportunity to win up to $15,000 in scholarships. Applications are due June 7, 2021, by 11:59 p.m. 

Last year, the program gave up to $15,000 each to HBCU students. The year prior, they gave away 6 individual scholarships.  This year’s initiative comes on the heels of historic moments that have many taking a renewed look at the importance of HBCUs. 

“As a person who went to an HBCU, I know the importance of education. I know the importance of HBCUs, where we can go to a college and experience things that are all for us, that represent who we are, and are representative of our culture. It's so important,” Anthony told Blavity. 

Anthony attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she participated in the on-campus radio and television stations. She says her Howard experience prepared her for independence and taught her how to interact with people from all walks of life. 

“I'm forever grateful for that and just wish that more people can have that same opportunity to experience what college does for you and how it changes you and prepares you for the real world,” she said. 

Previous scholarship winner Erin Lyke is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and was a part of the school’s choir. Lyke also served in several mentorship programs throughout her time at Tuskegee University in Alabama. A 2021 graduate, she is beginning her career at BMO Harris Bank as a private wealth agent. 

The Black and Positively Golden scholarship, she said, allowed her to concentrate on her schoolwork, instead of stressing over how she would pay for school or worrying about taking out new loans. 

“I didn't have to check my account statement or my schedule to see if my classes were deleted yet. So it was really a breath of fresh air that I could just sit back and focus on my career,” she said. 

Lyke also stressed the importance of investing in HBCUs and their students. 

“I think that it's really important because HBCUs are extremely underfunded and I don't think people realize how much talent there is here and how hard we work,” Lyke said. “There's so much history here. Booker T. Washington is buried on our campus. You don't want to let something like that die, because Tuskegee is home for a lot of people.”

The Chicago native traveled nearly 1,000 miles away from home to attend Tuskegee University and hopes to inspire other young, Black women to have an open mind and take advantage of that kind of experience. 

Anthony and Lyke both shared similar advice for young people who attend or are hoping to attend HBCUs: keep an open mind. 

“When you have an open mind, you'll pretty much take advantage of every opportunity thrown your way,” Lyke said. “Anything that comes your way, give it a shot. You never know what may come from it.”

For more information on the scholarship, visit TMCF's website