Thurgood Marshall College Fund Teams Up With Kroger Co. For The 3rd Annual Zero Hunger, Zero Waste Challenge
Three teams pitched an innovative solution for how Kroger can use artificial intelligence to improve health and nutrition in underserved communities through increased food access.
The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) Foundation announced the scholarship award recipients and entrepreneurial pitch competition results from its third annual Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Innovation Challenge in collaboration with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF). The Innovation Challenge is made possible by $1.35 million in grants awarded to TMCF from the foundation’s Racial Equity Fund. The grants support TMCF’s effort to adapt its successful innovation and entrepreneurship model to focus on food insecurity and food waste.
The Innovation Challenge is a three-day in-person business pitch competition where students from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) 1890 land-grant institutions combine the adapted Innovation and Entrepreneurship model to solve Zero Hunger | Zero Waste challenges, using expertise from Kroger and The Kroger Co. Foundation.
“The Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Innovation Challenge creates an environment for students to think strategically about a seemingly intractable challenge – the intersection of hunger and food waste – and apply their ingenuity to help solve it,” Keith Dailey, Kroger’s group vice president of corporate affairs and president of The Kroger Co. Foundation, stated in a press release.
“We are so proud to work with Thurgood Marshall College Fund and these talented student innovators to find new ways to eliminate hunger and waste in our communities.”
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There were 30 students and six teams participating, representing 11 HBCUs. Three teams pitched an innovative solution for how Kroger can use artificial intelligence to improve health and nutrition in underserved communities through increased food access. The remaining three teams addressed how Kroger can use technology to reduce food waste and make a meaningful impact toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the supply chain and operations. The company awarded $45,750 in scholarships.
The winners and grant recipients include:
First Place: The Innovisionaries, each team member awarded $5,000.
Team Members: Leoshana Johnson, Central State University; Asia Kimpson, Central State University; Eric Williams, Central State University; Aaliyah Umoru, Texas Southern University; and Ikechi Africs, Fisk University.
Second Place: Estaw, each team member was awarded $2,500.
Team Members: Michael Agoha, Howard University; Chania Blairr, Wilberforce University; Ashley Adams, Bluefield State University; Justin Collins, Prairie View A&M University; and Sophonie Janvie, North Carolina A&T State University.
Third Place: The McMullen Innovators, each team member awarded $1,250.
Team Members: Sianna Carr, Wilberforce University; Joseph Boadi, Bluefield State University; Devin Watkins, North Carolina A&T State University; Destiny Haywood, Langston University; and Elijah Okoroh, Fisk University.
Most Outstanding Players: Destiny Haywood, Langston University, and Rita Osi, Jackson State University.
Award: $1,000 for each team member.
“I can’t say enough about our talented students who competed during Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Innovation Challenge program,” Dr. Harry Williams, President & CEO of Thurgood Marshall College Fund, stated in the release.
“Our students are exposed to the technologies that combat food insecurity in a challenging setting where they have an opportunity to make societal contributions toward a solution that will benefit others. We’re always proud to partner with Kroger and appreciate their intentional investment in our students.”