Pinky Cole is giving back to Savannah State University graduates with an $8.75 million “Entrepreneurship Starter Pack.” Cole Cole announced the generous gift as this year’s commencement speaker. There will be $25,000 worth of resources available to each graduate. This was accomplished through a partnership between the Slutty Vegan owner and Operation Hope and One Million Black Businesses.

The donation will provide tools to help the graduating class navigate their lives post-graduation and will be a catalyst for them as they transition into the world. In addition to a 3-month Shopify subscription, all Savannah State graduates will receive financial guidance and training from 1MBB.

During Cole’s commencement speech, she emphasizes that things that happened to them have happened for them. This makes them resilient and flexible in the face of adversity.

She told the class, who left high school during COVID and missed many traditional events, celebrations and milestones that they made it.

“I am passionate about lifting up the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs of our world. I know firsthand what it means to have mentorship and how someone believing in your dream can make a difference,” Cole said in a statement. “This graduating class has experienced so much adversity. Their college years began with a global pandemic, and they have had to navigate their lives through unprecedented events.”

“Through it all, they have thrived and are ready to enter the ‘real world’ with more experience and the confidence to face life’s new challenges,” she continued. “I believe in these graduates, and I hope that this gift will help them as they transition into this next phase of their lives.”

Known for her philanthropic efforts, Cole also supports Clark Atlanta University’s students’ business journeys. In addition, she subsidized the prom at Benjamin E. Mays High School for all students to attend.

Operation Hope’s founder, John Hope Bryant, praised Cole for her continued commitment to her community.

“Pinky Cole Hayes is a living example of what happens when a brilliant idea meets opportunity,” Bryant said. “With 1MBB, we want to offer opportunities to as many brilliant ideas as we can reach and are excited to partner with Pinky to help lift up the next generation of Black entrepreneurial excellence.”