American Eagle Outfitters has revealed the first 15 Real Change Scholarship for Social Justice recipients. They include students interested in human rights, film, politics, LGBTQ issues, Asian American rights and more.
“I’m thrilled to announce our inaugural 15 recipients of the AEO Real Change Scholarship for Social Justice,” said Jay Schottenstein, executive chairman of the board and chief executive officer of American Eagle Outfitters. “The program was created to build stronger, more diverse communities and support educational opportunities for our associates — who are the next generation of leaders. We are inspired by the passion, powerful action and real impact our awardees have demonstrated through their efforts to drive anti-racism and equality initiatives in the communities where they live and work. We are extremely proud to have such purpose-driven associates as part of our AEO family and look forward to supporting their educational pursuits.”
American Eagle Outfitters launched the scholarship in the fall in an effort to fund college expenses for employees who have a track record of promoting social justice issues within their communities.
The $5 million endowment will last at least 10 years, with company associates from underrepresented communities who are actively driving anti-racism, equality and social justice initiatives selected each year.
The inaugural cohort will each receive $10,000, which can be used to pay for tuition, housing and books, in addition to a mentor, someone at American Eagle Outfitters who can assist with career development and navigating the college experience.
American Eagle Outfitters, which includes the American Eagle, Aerie, Offline by Aerie, Todd Snyder and Unsubscribed brands, employs nearly 40,000 associates globally. About 70 percent of those employees are in Generation Z, or under the age of 25. But the scholarship is open to all full- and part-time associates, including in-store, corporate and distribution center employees, who are pursuing an undergraduate degree. Applicants must submit a personal statement outlining how they’re taking a stand against social justice issues — such as racism, hatred, bigotry, discrimination or inequality — demonstrate financial need and maintain a 3.0 grade point average, among other criteria.