Mars Food’s Ben’s Original (formerly known as Uncle Ben’s) has launched a new scholarship fund that will give people from underserved communities the opportunity to work in the food industry. The scholarship, Seat at the Table Fund, will provide educational and mentorship opportunities to the underserved. This fund will be done in conjunction with The National Urban League and The United Negro College Fund (UNCF).
“The U.S.-based scholarship is our premiere program of many more we plan to establish in countries around the world and is one of the first steps we’re taking to deliver on our brand’s new purpose to create opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table,” said Fiona Dawson, global president, Mars Food, in a statement. “The support of National Urban League has been invaluable in developing this scholarship, and we’re excited about the possibilities to create more equitable opportunities for people who will positively influence the future of the entire food industry around the world.”
The initial phase of the Ben’s Original’s Seat at the Table Fund will start in the United States, where the brand has partnered with National Urban League to create a scholarship for Black students interested in a career in the food industry. The scholarship will cover all education-related expenses for students toward the completion of a food science or culinary arts certificate, Associate or Bachelor’s degree.
“Empowering people to create a more inclusive future is a foundational element of National Urban League’s mission,” said Marc Morial, president and CEO, National Urban League. “We’re proud to partner with Ben’s Original to help create these opportunities for those who truly deserve it, as well as support recipients in building successful careers in the food industry through the Seat at the Table Fund.”
Ben’s Original’s Seat at the Table Fund scholarship will be open to high school seniors, high school graduates already enrolled in accredited Associate and/or Bachelor’s degree programs, and adults who are looking for a career change into the culinary field or those who want to advance their culinary careers. Ben’s Original has allocated $2 million over the next five years to the U.S. version of the scholarship.
“The Ben’s Original brand’s Seat at the Table Fund is a great example of how major brands and successful advocacy organizations like National Urban League can powerfully create more equal access to education that prepares minorities for rich intellectual lives and competitive and fulfilling careers,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president, and CEO of UNCF, the largest minority education organization in the U.S.
In early 2021, those interested can register at UNCF.org/SeatAtTheTable.