Jay-Z may be known for his lyrical prowess and ability to wax poetic about everything from growing up in Brooklyn to ruling boardrooms in Manhattan, but the former hustler also wants to help others achieve their dreams.

Through the Shawn Carter Foundation, Jigga wants to help young people pursue higher education and live a better life.

On the foundation’s website, Jay explains why he decided to get involved:

“Sometimes, people just need the opportunity to be great. We created the scholarship foundation to be an opening of a door; the first step in a new direction. No one should be cheated out a chance at success just because they can’t continue their education. I want to do my part so anyone that really wants it has a chance to achieve their dream.”

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To help students, the Shawn Carter Foundation provides grants of $1500 to $2500 to “every student who qualifies and reapplies yearly.” Additionally, students who qualify are required to “give back” to their community through participating in service projects and mentoring.

Because he knows how difficult it is when you come from an impoverished background, the Shawn Carter Foundation primarily helps low-income students.

According to the foundation’s stats:

• 66% come from single parent households
• 64% come from households earning $40,000 or less
• 34% represent households at the federal poverty level
• 3.86 is the average household size
• 34 is the number of US states represented in the applicant pool

To qualify, applicants must “be a high school senior, college student, and/or between the ages of 18-25, pursuing studies at a vocational or trade school. All applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.5, be a US Citizen and complete the on-line application no later than the published deadline date, which is May 15, 2012.”

So get those applications in folk!

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  • Shay

    Good stuff.

    • Melly_Mel

      Very noble. He could start with Beyonce and her elementary speak…i cringe to see interviews and she’s struggling to find the right way to articulate a simple point without sounding dumb, which she hasn’t been successful yet.

  • Miss J

    Good jay-z

  • Whatever

    “pursuing studies at a vocational or trade school”

    Why only vocational or trade school?

    • T.

      It says, “a high school senior, college student, and/or between the ages of 18-25, pursuing studies at a vocational or trade school”. So if someone is a high school student, they’re eligible, and if they’re out of high school/past high school age, but studying at a vocational or trade school, they’re also eligible. It opens up the opportunity to a wider pool of applicants, including folk out of the traditional academic stream. I think that’s pretty cool.

    • pink

      Whatever: I think it’s great that JZ is targeting an area that is usually overlooked. Not everyone is cut out to get an MBA. And quite frankly MORE training is needed in vocational, and trade. Specifically in construction. I get so tired of passing construction sites, and rarely seeing african americans on the job.

    • Whatever


      Thanks for clearing that up

  • Alexandra

    All the happy faces was enough for me. Awesome job Jay.

  • marais morris

    oh so glad to see this. sent to all relatives with eligible children and i am sure that this information has been sent to high schools. however, something has been bothering me for quite a while and this seems to be the right time to mention it because it concerns BEYONCE. the other day i chanced upon a letter that she had written to michelle obama and i was soooooooooooooooo embarrassed that Beyonce appeared so unlearned, so unschooled. i know money means a lot in this society; however, education should mean a little something too. why can’t beyonce take a few courses [especially in grammar], listen to some tapes for proper diction, and read a few books every once in a while?. it’s downright embarrassing to hear her answer television interview questions always the same way: “ISSS- UH-MAZE–EN.” i realize that carving out a career takes a lot of time and that maybe there isn’t always the time available for learning. but now that beyonce half the money in the world and is married to a man who has the other half, why can’t she do a litle studying –even if she is not eligible for this particular program of jay-z’s.