Baton Rouge, Louisiana, May 10, 2022 – The Sons and Daughters Special Projects Team (SPT) Fund, Inc., is continuing to move forward in accomplishing its mission to provide consultative and financial services to support the Southern University System’s student recruitment, mentoring, retention and graduation programs. See “About the Sons and Daughters Special Projects Team Fund, Inc.,” at the end of this press release for additional background information.
A Member Involvement in a Timely Project. Dr. Diola Bagayoko, an SUS Distinguished Professor Emeritus is the Director-President of the Sons and Daughters SPT Fund, Inc. He and some colleagues at SUBR have received funding from the Louisiana Department of Education for a timely project entitled “Stemming the Pool of Future Minority Clinicians at the Timbuktu Academy.” This two year project is funded for $1 Million; it is to recruit, support, and mentor up to 75 students per year. The first 50 participant scholars have already been trained in COVID-19 prevention education and outreach. As per the reports of the project, submitted to the LDH, these scholars have already rendered significant COVID-19 prevention education and outreach to diverse communities. Project implementation strategies directly support the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention’s “National Initiative to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities among Populations at High-Risk and Underserved, Including Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations and Rural Communities (CDC-RFA-OT21-2103).”
To be eligible to apply for this project, an SUBR undergraduate student has to major in Biology, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Nursing, Psychology, Speech Pathology, or other Allied Health disciplines. Selected students, referred to as scholars, receive at least a $1500 stipend in each fall and spring semesters, with the understanding that their full-time is to be devoted to academic preparation and COVID educational outreach activities.
Student Recruitment and Retention. Top Jags Academic Scholarship Program (TJASP) was established in April 2022 to award two $1000 scholarships to incoming freshmen for the Fall 2022-Spring 2023 academic year. The program will involve consultation with Top Jags coordinator Eldred Jackson and provide prospective Top Jags with the TJASP application form.
Spring/Summer Membership Drive and Fundraising Campaign. The organization’s membership drive and fundraising campaign will commence on May 8, 2022. Southern University System graduates who opt to become members of the Sons and Daughters Special Projects Team Fund, Inc., are encouraged to attend the organization’s Annual Meeting and Retreat. Donations will be accepted and allocated to sustain the organization’s Top Jags Academic Scholarship Program.
Annual Meeting and Retreat. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, May 17-18, 2022. The organization’s Annual Meeting will be held, face to face and via Zoom, on May 17th, at the Hilton Garden Inn, 3300 Harding Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA 70807 225-357-6177. The organization’s Retreat will be held, face to face and via Zoom, on May 18th, at the SULC in the Tony Clayton Room (Rm 225).
Legal Advisor Appointment. The Board voted unanimously, on March 24, 2022, to appoint Professor Prentice White, Southern University Law Center (SULC), as the Legal Advisor of the Sons and Daughters Special Projects Team Fund, Inc. Professor White succeeded Professor Marc Roark, SULC, who served with distinction as the Sons and Daughters first Legal Advisor. Professor Roark helped the organization form its corporation in the state of Louisiana and achieve its 501(c)3 Nonprofit status with the IRS.
Vice Chair of the Communications Committee Appointment. The Board voted unanimously, on March 24, 2022, to appoint Ms. Melrose Biagas, as the Vice Chair of the Communications Committee.
Dedicated and Qualified Sons. Two charter members are seeking Southern University Alumni Federation (SUAF) national elected officer positions:
- Carlton Jones (SUAF National President)
- Thurston “TJ” Jones (SUAF Historian)
About the Sons and Daughters Special Projects Team Fund, Inc.
The organization’s mission is to provide consultative and financial services to support the Southern University System’s student recruitment, retention, mentoring and graduation programs. The organization began in September 2018 when the first meeting was held on the Southern University Baton Rouge (SUBR) campus to discuss a subset of special projects in alignment with its mission. The original Constitution and Bylaws were adopted on December 9, 2020. Articles of Incorporation were filed with the Louisiana Secretary of State on September 29, 2021, and the Sons and Daughters Special Projects Team Fund Corporation was formed on October 7, 2021. The United States Internal Revenue Service application for nonprofit designation was completed on October 10, 2021 and the 501(c)3 Nonprofit Tax Exempt Status designation was approved by the Internal Revenue Service determination letter, dated January 5, 2022.
Since its inception in 2018, the organization proposed and put forth special projects to launch the Native American Recruitment Initiative (NARI) in October 2018 and successfully helped SUBR become a Graduate degrees for Engineering Minorities (GEM) Member Institution with the GEM National Consortium in September 2019. The Director-President of the organization authored a position paper, held several meetings with the SUBR Chancellor and Deans, and provided the key strategy to help SUBR obtain recognition as a Carnegie Classification Doctoral Institution Research 2 (R2), which is the “High Research Doctoral Activity” designation from Indiana University, which was achieved in December 2021.
The organization created the “Sons and Daughters TOP JAGS Academic Scholarship Fund” in April 2022, for incoming freshmen. Two scholarships, one for a female student and one for a male student, will be awarded starting in the Fall 2022, with the funds split between the fall and spring semesters.
Dr. Diola Bagayoko (SU Chancellor’s Fellow, SU System Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Physics and SU Director Emeritus of the Timbuktu Academy) serves as the organization’s Director-President. His leadership team and charter members are Director-Membership Patricia Deamer, Director-Project Management Thurston “TJ” Jones, Director-Fundraising Elnora Flewellen, Director-Treasurer E. Jean Ware, Director-Communications Stanley White, and Director-Secretary Pamela LeBrane. Other charter members are Hillery Johnson, Melrose Biagas, Robyne A. M. Jones, Marilyn Reeves Payne, Sabrina Martin-Watley, Edwin Watley, Carlton Jones, Renee Moses, and Harold Brody.