Stormzy has donated £500,000 to fund educational scholarships for students from disadvantaged backgrounds as part of his commitment to becoming a major philanthropist supporting black British causes.
His gift to the Black Heart Foundation is the first major funding arrangement made since the rapper announced plans in June to give away £10m over a decade to help organisations that are dedicated to fighting racial inequality in the UK.
Stormzy’s donation will cover the cost of awarding cash grants to about 50 students, providing support to people of any age who need financial assistance to take part in any educational activity, not just those attending universities.
Previous recipients have used the funds to cover the cost of travelling to a distant school, to train to be an airline pilot, and to allow them to concentrate on academic studies at university rather than worry about holding down a part-time job.
The vast majority of recipients of the Black Heart Foundation’s scholarships are from a BAME background, although anyone from an under-resourced and under-represented community is able to apply.
Stormzy’s donation was made through the Merky Foundation, a registered charity controlled by the rapper and his manager to coordinate his philanthropic efforts. He already awards annual “Stormzy scholarships” to two black students who attend the University of Cambridge, paying their tuition fees in full as well as providing a substantial grant to cover living expenses.
The Black Heart Foundation was founded by Ric Lewis, the American-born boss of the Mayfair-based property investment fund Tristan Capital Partners, who holds joint US-UK citizenship.
Lewis said his charity had already handed out 100 scholarships since 2013, while a fundraising round that aimed to bring in an extra £1m in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests had almost hit its target before Stormzy decided to make his substantial gift.
He said his organisation had been “invigorated” by the generosity of the Merky Foundation. “Their contribution is an amazing testament to their vision and commitment to higher and further education for ambitious, hardworking young people from the most under-resourced and under-represented communities in our society. With their support we will reach another 50 young people, taking the total number of scholars we can help to 250.”