Barbadian singer Rihanna has announced the creation of a global scholarship fund which she has set up in an effort to help students around the world afford higher education.
The full college scholarship, announced on Instagram, was set up through the Clara Lionel Foundation, founded by the Grammy-winning singer and songwriter in 2012 as a tribute to her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite, reports Jeremy Gordon for Pitchfork. The nonprofit “works to improve the quality of life for communities globally in the areas of health, education, arts, and culture.”
Eligible students include those who are citizens or originally from Barbados, Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, Guyana, Jamaica, and the United States and have been accepted into a “bachelor’s degree program at an accredited four-year college or university in the United States for the 2016-2017 year.”
“To be able to give the gift of an education is actually an honour,” said Rihanna. “Higher education will help provide perspective, opportunities, and learning to a group of kids who really deserve it. I am thrilled to be able to do this.”
Scholarships will not be limited in number, but will be distributed to students based on their individual needs. Rihanna has said she hopes to accept as many students as possible.
Students will be awarded scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, which will be able to be renewed for up to three years or until the student earns a bachelor’s degree, reports Jessie Morris for Complex.
The move is just one of many new projects for Rihanna, who recently gained a number one track on the Billboard charts and flew through a number of cities on her ANTI World Tour. Drake came with her on several of the stops, including to Miami, Los Angeles, and Toronto, where the pair performed “Work” together. She has also reportedly been hard at work on a new song with Calvin Harris, titled “This Is What You Came For.” A teaser for the music video was released last weekend by Harris featuring Rihanna turning around in a chair as she got her nails done.
The singer has engaged in charitable endeavors since the beginning of her career, launching the Believe Foundation in 2006 at just 18 years old. The organization worked to help terminally ill children through critical, emotional, educational, financial and medical support.
She has also participated in H&M’s Fashion Against AIDS project in 2008, which has raised $10 million for the effort as of 2013. She has worked as an ambassador for UNICEF’s Tap Project, which works to bring clean water and sanitation to children across the globe, and has made donations to the Food Bank for New York City during such crises as Hurricane Sandy.
In 2008 she joined 15 other female artists to sing “Just Stand Up!” during the “Stand Up To Cancer” television special. All proceeds, totaling over $100 million, went to cancer research.
Applications will be accepted through June 10. A committee will screen a total of 50 finalists by comparing academic performance, demonstrated leadership, and participation in school and community activities, and work performance. A personal essay will also be considered. The first round of scholarship winners will be announced in August 2016.