Since mid-March when the world shutdown and isolation began, over 40 million Americans filed for unemployment, surging the national jobless rate to 13.3%. As a result of COVID-19, a lot of Generation Z have had to put their collegiate studies or dreams of further pursuing an education on hold due to financial stresses including hiring freezes, furloughs and the unemployment rate rising daily. As if the stresses of isolation, virtual graduation and student loans not being forgiven indefinitely weren’t enough, financial troubles are the cherry on top of the worries of an incoming class of students .
Thankfully, Gyrl Wonder, a Black-woman led professional pipeline 501c3 initiative giving rise to ambitious young women of color between the ages of 17 – 22, has officially announced their partnership with global beauty brand PMD Beauty to create the Gyrl Power, IRL (In Real Life) scholarship fund which will provide aid and assistance to young women and girls from underrepresented and marginalized communities whose families and path to greater education has been subdued by the pandemic.
“I started the scholarship because I wanted to do more. I’m always telling myself and the team that we can do more for the young women that we serve. Now more than ever they need us,” founder Tola Lawal told HelloBeautiful. “Faced with uncertainty, fear, family issues, the trauma of the world we live in today, we wanted to do whatever we could to alleviate any financial burdens standing in the way of them being their best selves. Next year I want to help more gyrls, give more money, and help more families. And we will. It’s only going to get bigger from here. I’m covering someone’s full tuition by 2022.”
In the midst of Black Lives Matter protests and racial injustices, Gyrl Wonder stood by their mission to uplift and amplify young girls of color, but wanted to tap a brand who was truly committed to putting their “money where their mouth is”. Though a lot of brands are being called out for their lack of diversity and representation within the beauty industry, PMD Beauty rose to the occasion to demonstrate not only their financial support, but their commitment to action and allyship for the Black community.
The Gyrl Wonder founder also spoke with HelloBeautiful about the honor of partnering with PMD Beauty to create the Gyrl Power IRL scholarship fund. “When PMD made their donation, we hopped on a call to discuss synergies. I wanted to do more than just accept a brand’s financial support. I was looking to build a partnership with every company that donated and the approach has proven successful. We pitched PMD Beauty on supporting the scholarship fund and they jumped at the opportunity as it aligns with their mission in giving gyrls opportunities while fostering brilliant confidence.”
Five young women of color in college will be awarded with a scholarship throughout the U.S. who demonstrate financial need and each recipient will be awarded with $2,000 towards their education for the 2020-2021 academic year. The Gyrl Power, In Real Life scholarship will be available on Friday, July 10th through August 7th. For more information on the Scholarship Fund, please visit www.gyrlwonder.org/scholarship and follow @GyrlWonder on Instagram.