The Luther Vandross Foundation, with support from Waterford, Primary Wave Music and the Luther Vandross Estate, celebrated the educational philanthropy of Luther Vandross this past Saturday with an inaugural luncheon in Philadelphia. Friends, family, and supporters gathered at the Historic Belmont Mansion in West Fairmount Park to celebrate not only Luther’s life, but his legacy of supporting students and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Guests arrived at 1pm to the sounds of Luther’s music playing throughout the venue. A Waterford Master Craftsman was on hand crafting custom cuts within the crystal of a unique decanter which will be auctioned off at a future date to benefit Luther’s Foundation before everyone moved into the main tent. The day included remarks from the Foundation’s Brenda Shields and Sheila Cook, as well as the Estate’s Fonzi Thornton.
Waterford’s Creative Director, Alice Bastin, also spoke and commented saying “music is an emotional thread that will be integral to our new brand narrative at Waterford. Luther’s music has inspired and bonded generations and his legacy lives on through the important work the Luther Vandross Foundation does. It’s incredibly important to me that Waterford supports the work of the Luther Vandross Foundation and promotes cultural conversations around diversity and inclusivity. It is an honor for Waterford to be able to contribute to the important work of the Luther Vandross Foundation and to give talented students attending HBCU’s the financial aid to further their passions in education.”
Having always been a strong advocate and champion of education, Luther left a portion of his estate to HBCUs. His mother continued to support Luther’s passion and over $1 Million in scholarships have been awarded. In 2021, the Luther Vandross Foundation was established with the intent to continue Luther’s legacy of providing financial aid to students, and to heighten awareness and the importance of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the U.S. In the last year the Foundation alone, has awarded $250,000 in scholarships.
Plans for next year’s event are already in the works. This year’s event was just the first of many to come, helping to carry on Luther’s incredible support of education, students and the HBCUs.