Jordan Webster’s Vision: Elevating HBCU Students

The recent graduate discusses the importance of access to better resources in school.

Since a young age, Jordan Webster has known the importance of community and mentorship. Through her exposure to Girls Scouts and the Jack and Jill Foundation, she realized she loved creating new paths for the next generation. As she got older and attended HBCU Howard University, she felt the need for resources for the next generation, from education to scholarships. She then spearheaded the Cactus Jack Foundation and Project H.E.A.L. initiative, which funded $1,000,000 in scholarships for 100 graduating HBCU seniors.

The Cactus Jack Foundation started with her brother, Travis Scott, who shared he wanted to honor their grandfather’s legacy and help the next generation of creatives. Webster serves as the spokesperson and oversees the HBCU program for the Cactus Jack Foundation. The foundation’s initiative is to show how the youth should not be prevented from attaining their creative dreams. With various educational opportunities, the organization looks to be a safe space for high school and college students to explore their options.

According to recent data, 97 percent of students awarded scholarships receive less than $2,500, while only 0.2 percent receive rewards worth $25,000 or more. Through foundations like Cactus Jack, Webster sees an abundant future for the next generation.

Girls United: How did being at an HBCU help spearhead what you wanted to do with the Cactus Jack Foundation?

Webster: The HBCU legacy runs so deep and true in my family, so being able to go to Howard, I had an opportunity to have that hands-on experience with an HBCU; I’ve shifted our focus to the groups of people that go unrecognized or need help. I’m thankful for my experience at Howard because it’s helped me figure out how to grow the scholarship fund.

GU: How have you seen growth in the Cactus Jack Foundation?

Webster: We started at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 with five scholars, and we’ve been able to award over a million dollars in scholarships and help over 100 students now. We’ve grown so much, and so much talent at HBCU goes unrecognized. We’ve been able to help so many students and award them with so many scholarships. It’s been beautiful, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

GU: What would you say is a lesson you’ve learned as the spokesperson who is also a Gen Z’er?

Webster: I learned how powerful my voice is. My voice matters, and I learned to be more confident in who I am, what I can bring to the table, and how I can shape our foundation.

GU: Why should HBCU Gen Z’ers continue being involved in their community?

Webster: We have so much power in our voices and set the trends. Shining a light on different issues at HBCUs empowers the schools and brings them so much awareness. In recent years, HBCUs have been able to step into the spotlight. I think many people are doing a lot more for HBCUs because there is so much to talk about in the media now, and so many collaborations are happening. Being involved in the community brings so much awareness, and as Gen Z, we must continue to use our voice and platform to uplift HBCUs.

GU: How do the Cactus Jack Foundation’s different outreach projects motivate and inspire you?

Webster: I think just being able to see where we started and are now. It’s just been so motivating and inspiring to me. The scholarship fund is named after my grandfather to honor his legacy. So that alone puts a battery in my back to continue to uphold his name and help as many HBCU students as possible because I went to an HBCU. I know the hardships, the adversity, and our unique experiences, so to pour back into an HBCU the way the HBCU poured into me is such a blessing.

GU: How do you want to continue to be of service to the community?

Webster: I want to continue to put HBCUs on a platform and do what I can to help myself and others grow. I’ve been exposed to so many different people, and I want to continue to gain knowledge and use it to help whoever. I want to pour into people the way I’ve been poured into, and that’s the only way you can make change by helping others.

About the Author: Kenyatta Victoria is the lead writer for Essence GU, working on all things pop culture, politics, entertainment and business. Throughout her time at GU, she’s garnered devoted readers and specializes in the Zillennial point of view.

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