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What’s Next: The Home Depot’s Plan to Enhance its Commitment to HBCUs

What’s Next: The Home Depot’s Plan to Enhance its Commitment to HBCUs

As a company whose core values include giving back to and building strong relationships with the communities we serve, The Home Depot is always looking for ways to support worthy causes. The Retool Your School Campus Improvement Grant Program embodies our commitment to these values.  

The Retool Your School program launched in 2009. Since then, The Home Depot has awarded more than $4.2 million dollars to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Over 150 grants have been awarded to HBCUs to assist with projects ranging from renovating recording studios to landscaping. In total, nearly 70 % of HBCUs have received a grant during the course of the program. We are very excited to work with HBCUs in this capacity because it is our mission to give back. 

But The Home Depot is not a company that asks, “What’s been done?” We’re a company that asks, “What’s next?”  
While we’re proud of the work that we’ve done to give back to HBCUs across the nation, we know we can do more, so we are. Here are some of the things that The Home Depot plans to do going forward:

Uplifting HBCUs All Year Long

The Retool Your School program will continue to be a major focus for the multicultural marketing team with plans to innovate and upgrade the program each year, similar to our efforts to continuously upgrade HBCUs. And we’re pleased to announce that starting immediately, The Home Depot will use this blog – The Drill – to celebrate the important moments in HBCU culture and history and highlight the valuable contributions that HBCU grads have made to America and the world. The blog will also serve as a space for HBCU students and alums to share stories about how their HBCU experiences have shaped their lives. We’ll publish several stories and highlights each month. Check this website and our social media channels regularly to stay up to date on what’s happening. You’ll find informative and entertaining content by and for the HBCU community. And if you want to contribute to the conversation, click here to learn how you can contribute original content.  

Retool Your School is one of The Home Depot’s most popular programs. In the future, look for The Home Depot and Retool Your School to be more “hands-on” and more engaged throughout the year to provide ongoing support for this community.

Improved Recruitment and Outreach

Growing up in Hawaii, I heard little – if anything – about HBCUs. But when I moved to the east coast and expanded my network, I met HBCU graduates throughout my career and in graduate school.  Some of my closest friends graduated from HBCUs and over the years, they have taught me so much about HBCUs and their impact on the Black community.  When I came to The Home Depot, I was pleased to see that HBCU grads were employed at all ranks. Even better, I saw that those HBCU students and alums – and other employees of color – felt empowered to make their unique perspectives known, something that is not the norm in corporate America. Internships and employment have always been part of the Retool Your School initiative, but under my leadership and partnership with key internal talent acquisition teams, we’ll do more to make sure that HBCU students and alums are fully aware of and able to take advantage of the opportunities that exist at The Home Depot. Last year, we opened up a section of our website to post internship and full-time job opportunities. This year and beyond, The Drill will provide job search and career advice for HBCU students and recent grads.   

These are just a few of the ways that The Home Depot plans to double down on its commitment to HBCUs. We hope you’ll support these new projects. We can’t wait to see how we can continue to partner with HBCU administrators, students, and alumni to be stronger partners as the years go on. And if you think we’re not doing enough, let us know. At The Home Depot, we never assume that we’ve done enough. We simply ask, “What’s Next?”

Tiffany H. Mitsui 
Sr. Manager, Multicultural Marketing, The Home Depot 

Tiffany has been with The Home Depot for six years, starting on the Media Strategy Team supporting décor departments, Services, and others, then building up the Strategic Marketing practice before moving to the Multicultural Marketing team in June. Prior to THD, she worked for major agencies such as OMD and IPG Mediabrands, as well as managing customer card acquisition at American Express.

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