The goal is to raise $22,000 by next spring to reward senior graduates.

CHARLOTTE, NC — Nearly a week before Giving Tuesday, Charlotte nonprofits like GardHouse are encouraging donations to help students of color prepare for success through student debt relief.

GardHouse began in 2019 to provide Black and Brown students with access to paid internships working with small businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies, while helping these students enhance their career development.

“I wanted to make sure that this organization was able to provide some type of support for them along the way,” GardHouse executive director Jonathan Gardner said. “They are able to not only take what they learn in the classroom and apply it in real time, but they provide local support to the community so they can build their social capital.”

The next step GarHouse hopes to provide is student debt relief. It comes at a time when President Joe Biden’s debt cancellation efforts remain stalled in court.

GardHouse aims to raise $22,000 by next spring. Donations will allow GardHouse to award at least $2,000 to nearly a dozen graduating students.

Righteous Keitt, a UNC Chapel Hill senior, is one such student who says he could benefit. Keitt holds a double major in political science and public policy. He says his biggest concerns are finding a well-paying job after graduation and being able to cover any remaining student loan debt.

” Times are hard. We don’t know what things will be like by the time I graduate and honestly that’s one of my worries — especially when you’re talking about the cost of living itself,” Keitt said. “With rent as high as it is, with food prices as high – those are all things I should be worried about and it’s not necessarily the easiest time to find a job that pays the amount of money needed to live.

Recent unemployment data shows that black and brown students are twice as likely to be unemployed upon graduation.

GardHouse’s goal is not just to provide money, but also hope.

“A lot of students really look at the cost of what it really means to live their dream,” Gardner said. “It’s starting to look a little darker for a lot of students.”

Donations to the GardHouse Scholarship Fund can be made online.

Contact Briana Harper at and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and instagram.

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