Hennessy Makes Multi-Million Dollar Commitment To Support African Americans In Leadership Positions

World's Best-Selling Cognac Unveils "Hennessy Fellows," Thurgood Marshall College Fund's First-Ever Corporate Hbcu Graduate Program

PR Newswire

Hennessy’s commitment to drive more diversity in corporate leadership just got a major boost with the announcement of the Hennessy Fellows graduate program. Hennessy has committed $10 million dollars over the next 10 years to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) – the pre-eminent national organization dedicated to promoting educational excellence among students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Now accepting applicants for Fall 2019 at tmcf.org/HFP through May 5, Hennessy Fellows is a groundbreaking graduate scholarship initiative designed to equip the next generation of African American leaders through financial assistance, access to training and professional development experiences, and real-world skill application.

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TMCF’s vision of “Changing the World… One Leader at a Time” aligns with Hennessy’s “Never stop. Never settle.” mantra, which reflects what one can achieve by pushing the limits of potential. Born of these shared values, Hennessy Fellows was created for those graduate students who want to blaze their own trails and pursue their dreams, regardless of challenges faced along the way.

Last year, only 8.6% of Fortune 500 board seats were held by African American executives*; further, most scholarships focus on undergraduate education, making post-grad level degrees less attainable to those who rely on scholarships and financial assistance. “The issue of financial aid is not only limited to undergraduate students on our HBCU campuses. Limited resources for graduate students also lead to student drop off,” said Dr. David Wilson, President, Morgan State University, one of the HBCUs eligible for participation in the Hennessy Fellows program. “Hennessy’s initiative will be a lifeline of support providing more opportunities for graduate students that are often forgotten.”

“Continuing a heritage of support and celebration of the African American community that began over one hundred years ago, Hennessy is excited to partner with TMCF to help ensure more diversity in leadership roles,” said Giles Woodyer, Senior Vice President, Hennessy US. “The immediate goal of the Hennessy Fellows program is to create a pipeline of highly qualified talent over the next 10 years and help prepare these future leaders for success.”

“We are honored to announce a ten-year partnership with Thurgood Marshall College Fund,” said Jim Clerkin, President and CEO of Moët Hennessy North America. “As a charter corporate sponsor of the fund, we continue to support the work of this organization in developing a pipeline of talent and future leaders from historically Black colleges and universities. I am proud of the work we have done together to date and look forward to continuing our efforts to build a broader, more inclusive talent base for corporate America.”

Following a thorough application process, the Hennessy Fellows program selects ten high-achieving, high-potential graduate students per year and offers them a one-of-a-kind opportunity. Recipients will be awarded financial assistance towards collegiate graduate level education programs, as well as curated corporate development experiences, including training forums and networking to enhance the exchange of ideas, and provide direct exposure to the inter-relatedness of corporate, social and economic systems.

The program is open to students enrolled in accredited HBCU or PBI Graduate programs, and offers the following:

• 1:1 executive coaching

• Up to $20,000 per academic year

• $10,000 annual stipend for other educational expenses

• Opportunity to compete for a community-related project grant up to $10,000

• Access to online training forums, boot camps, networking events and professional development experiences

“When such a tremendously successful global brand like Hennessy invests in a higher education non-profit like ours, it tells the world that HBCUs and PBIs have value and are worth investing in, and TMCF is the best steward to carry out such a monumental investment,” said Dr. Harry L. Williams, President & CEO, TMCF. “This is major, and it can’t be overlooked as just a financial contribution, it is a real partnership that is a game changer for the students and our community.”

Hennessy’s partnership with TMCF adds to the brand’s long history of supporting the African American community dating back to the early 1900s. Hennessy leadership at the time was among the founders of what would ultimately become the National Urban League, paving the road for Hennessy’s involvement as first corporate sponsor of milestone organizations like the NAACP and Tuskegee Institute.

Hennessy Fellows is now accepting applications. The 10 selected Fellows will be announced in June to receive benefits ahead of the Fall 2019 term. For more information, including eligibility requirements and how to apply, please visit tmcf.org/HFP. To learn more about Hennessy, visit Hennessy.com/US, YouTube.com/HennessyUS, Facebook.com/Hennessy or Instagram.com/HennessyUS.

*Source: Missing Pieces Report: The 2018 Board Diversity Census of Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards; Deloitte and The Alliance for Board Diversity


The leader in Cognac, the Maison Hennessy has shined around the world with its exceptional blends for more than 250 years. Built on founder Richard Hennessy’s spirit of conquest, the brand is present in more than 130 countries. Based in the heart of the Charente region, Hennessy is also a steadfast pillar of the regional economy, the standard-bearer for a sector rich in expertise. The House’s success and longevity are rooted in the excellence of its cognacs, each of which is born of a unique process of transmission from generation to generation.

The first wine and spirits house to be certified ISO 14001, Hennessy unites its capacity for innovation and the support of all of its partners to protect this exceptional area. As the crown jewel of the LVMH Group, Hennessy is a major contributor to French international trade, with 99% of production sold in export, and a worldwide ambassador for the French art de vivre.

Hennessy is imported and distributed in the U.S. by Moët Hennessy USA. Hennessy distills, ages and blends spanning a full range: Hennessy V.S, Privilege V.S.O.P, Hennessy Black, X.O, Privé, Paradis, Paradis Imperial and Richard Hennessy. Imported Cognac Hennessy® 40% Alc./Vol. (80º), ©2019 Imported by Moët Hennessy USA, Inc., New York, NY


Established in 1987, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. TMCF member-schools include the publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions, enrolling nearly 80% of all students attending black colleges and universities. Through scholarships, capacity building and research initiatives, innovative programs, and strategic partnerships, TMCF is a vital resource in the K-12 and higher education space. The organization is also the source of top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs.

TMCF is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization. For more information about TMCF, visit: www.tmcf.org.

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