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2023 Retool Your School Awards Celebration Recap

Representatives from nine of the winning schools in Cluster 1 celebrate by raising their checks in the air for all to see.

The first portion of the 2023 Retool Your School Program was an astounding success! Students, alumni, staff, faculty and other supporters of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) cast over 13 million votes for their favorite schools during the Campus Improvement Grant voting challenge. Thirty HBCUs won grants that will be used to beautify their campuses. 

Additionally, 10 HBCUs received awards from the new Innovation Lounge Program. Four lucky schools won both Campus Improvement Grants and Innovation Lounge Grants for a total of 36 winners. 

On April 11, The Home Depot hosted an Awards Celebration in Atlanta, Georgia to announce the winners of both Programs. The mayor, celebrities, alumni, school representatives and other supporters came together to salute the victors and show their support for HBCUs. 

The 2023 Awards Ceremony 

Members of The Home Depot’s leadership team, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and host Rashan Ali pose for a pic at the 2023 Retool Your School Awards Celebration

The Awards Ceremony was held at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. The crowd was treated to music by internationally known celebrity deejay, D.J. Stormy. D.J. Stormy, an alumna of Alabama State University, kept the vibe going strong all evening. 

The Ceremony was hosted by Rashan Ali, a proud FAMU grad. Atlanta mayor Andre Dickens greeted the crowd. Laz Alonso – Howard University alumnus, renowned actor and host of the 2022 Retool Your School winners’ event – made a virtual appearance.

Rashan Ali Home Depot Retool Your School 2023 Awards Celebration
Host Rashan Ali shares some words of wisdom with the crowd

During the 2023 Campus Improvement Grant voting challenge, HBCU students, alumni and others voted for their favorite HBCUs. This year, HBCU supporters cast over 13 million votes – a 30% increase over 2022. 

The schools were split into three clusters based on student enrollment. 

  • Cluster 1 schools enroll more than 4,000 students.
  • Cluster 2 schools enroll between 3,999 and 1,201 students. 
  • Cluster 3 schools enroll fewer than 1,200 students.

This year, The Home Depot increased Campus Improvement Grant awards at all levels by at least two times the 2022 amount. For example, 2022’s first-place winners each received $75,000. Each 2023 first-place winner was awarded a grant of $150,000. 

And the 2023 Campus Improvement Grant winners are… 

With all votes officially in, here are this year’s winners. 

Cluster 1

  • First place – $150,000 – Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, AL
  • Second place – $100,000 – Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
  • Third place – $80,000 – Albany State University, Albany, GA
  • Fourth place – $60,000 – Howard University, Washington, DC
  • Fifth place – $60,000 – Hampton University, Hampton, VA
  • Sixth place – $50,000 – Grambling State University, Grambling, LA
  • Seventh place – $50,000 – Alabama State University, Montgomery, AL
  • Eighth place – $40,000 – Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, LA
  • Ninth place – $40,000 – Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, NC
  • 10th place – $40,000 – Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA

Cluster 2 

  • First place – $150,000 – Coahoma Community College, Clarksdale, MS
  • Second place – $100,000 – South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, SC
  • Third place – $80,000 – Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL
  • Fourth place – $60,000 – Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach, FL
  • Fifth place – $60,000 – Kentucky State University, Frankfort, KY
  • Sixth place – $50,000 – Benedict College, Columbia, SC
  • Seventh place – $50,000 – Savannah State University, Savannah, GA
  • Eighth place – $40,000 – University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff, AR
  • Ninth place – $40,000 – Univ. of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, MD
  • 10th place – $40,000 – Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena, MS 

Cluster 3 

  • First place – $150,000 – Fisk University, Nashville, TN
  • Second place – $100,000 – Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS
  • Third place – $80,000 – Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, NC
  • Fourth place – $60,000 – Lane College, Jackson, TN
  • Fifth place – $60,000 – Texas College, Tyler, TX
  • Sixth place – $50,000 – Southwestern Christian College, Terrell, TX
  • Seventh place – $50,000 – Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, OH
  • Eighth place – $40,000 – Morris Brown College, Atlanta, GA
  • Ninth place – $40,000 – Rust College, Holly Springs, MS
  • 10th place – $40,000 – Saint Augustine’s University, Raleigh, NC

The Home Depot launched the Campus Improvement Grant Program in 2009 to give back to America’s HBCUs by providing grants to be used for campus uplift and beautification. Through this Program, The Home Depot has awarded 227 grants totaling more than $9.2 million to eligible HBCUs. Schools have used the awards for a wide range of projects that have benefited thousands of students. 

The Inaugural Innovation Lounge Grant Winners 

This year, Retool Your School launched a new initiative – the Innovation Lounge Grant Program

While Campus Improvement Grants were awarded based on votes, the Innovation Lounge Grant winners were chosen based on their applications. Schools had to submit proposals that explained their vision for the space and much more. Each winning school will receive funds to create an Innovation Lounge – a space where students can collaborate in a high-tech, well-designed space provided by The Home Depot. 

Congratulations to the 10 inaugural winners of the Innovation Lounge Grant Program.

  • Bethune-Cookman University*, Daytona Beach, FL
  • Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), Tallahassee, FL
  • Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, GA
  • Lincoln University of Missouri, Jefferson City, MO
  • Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN
  • Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA
  • Morris Brown College*, Atlanta, GA
  • Southern University and A&M College*, Baton Rouge, LA
  • Southwestern Christian College*, Terrell, TX
  • Voorhees College, Denmark, SC

An asterisk (*) denotes that a school won both a Campus Improvement Grant and an Innovation Lounge Grant.

Retool Your School 2023 Continues

Thanks to all who worked hard to make the 2023 Campus Improvement Grant Program, Innovation Lounge Grant Program and Awards Ceremony successful. While voting for Campus Improvement Grants and applications for Innovation Lounge Grants have closed, Retool Your School continues. In 2023, Retool Your School expanded to include many new programs including: 

  • The Community Project Grant Program,
  • Resume and interview workshops for HBCU students,
  • An HBCU-focused externship program, and 
  • Scholarships for HBCU students. 

The Home Depot hopes that all eligible HBCUs and students will participate in these programs. Learn more about these exciting new Retool Your School initiatives.

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