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Tagg Scholarship Fund Joins the Wanda Alston Foundation

Tagg Scholarship Fund Board

Tagg Scholarship Fund board members pose with 2019 scholarship recipient Aireyona Mercer.

Lives change for the better when our community unites to help LGBTQ+ people in need. This is the spirit in which the Tagg Scholarship Fund is joining the Wanda Alston Foundation this fall. The move opens an exciting new chapter of potential growth for both organizations, which support LGBTQ+ youth.

For Tagg Magazine Editor-in-Chief Eboné Bell, the partnership is an opportunity for the fund, which has awarded more than $10,000 to queer women of color, to reach its full potential. Even before she founded Tagg, Bell dreamed of creating a scholarship to help queer women of color attend college.

“I really wanted to make a difference, especially with young, queer folks who look like me—because I know exactly how it is to be a queer woman of color,” Bell says, noting that she wanted to be part of a solution to give Black and brown queer women the resources they need to start—and finish—college.

Bell launched the fund in summer 2016, with a goal of one day being able to award multiple $10,000 scholarships each year and pair recipients with mentors. By 2019, the fund had awarded two smaller scholarships and was incorporated as a nonprofit.

But even with enthusiastic support from board members and the Tagg community, Bell recognized the fund needed more resources to fulfill her vision. After considering many options, Bell decided the Wanda Alston Foundation was a natural fit. Named after a queer Black woman, the foundation provides shelter and social services to LGBTQ+ youth ages 18 to 24 experiencing homelessness and poverty and Washington, D.C.

Bell approached Wanda Alston Foundation Executive Director June Crenshaw to see if the foundation would like to manage the scholarship.

“My initial reaction was, ‘This is a perfect landing place for the scholarship,’” Crenshaw says. “One of the things that is most challenging in providing support to our youth experiencing homelessness is having supports—like educational and career support—that create a sustainable path for them. Providing more resources and being able to support a youth with their educational aspirations is really quite exciting.”

Crenshaw hopes to build on the scholarship’s success by expanding it to youth pursuing non-traditional education. She’s also working to create a youth advisory board to ensure that the foundation’s programs, including the scholarship, are accessible, inclusive, and meeting the needs of the youth they serve. Tagg to will work with the foundation to promote the scholarship and amplify conversations about the resources queer women of color need to pursue higher education.

To learn more about or contribute to the Tagg Scholarship Fund, visit TaggScholarshipFund.org. To learn more about the Wanda Alston Foundation, including ways to contribute and volunteer, visit WandaAlstonFoundation.org.