McDonald’s Partners with Reach Higher to Provide Emergency Grants for At-Risk Students

June 08, 2020

Dear Class of 2020

The company was recognized for its contribution during the YouTube #DearClassof2020 Virtual Graduation

 McDonald’s and its franchisees are proud to further their support of education and those affected by COVID-19 by donating to Reach Higher’s Emergency Grants Relief Fund as part of the YouTube #DearClassof2020 Virtual Graduation, which took place on Sunday, June 7. The star-studded, multi-hour event featured speakers and performers who celebrated the year’s spring graduates, their families, and communities, as graduation plans are altered due to stay-at-home orders and social distancing. Former First Lady, Michelle Obama, who started the Reach Higher Initiative, kicked off the event and delivered commencement remarks.

McDonald’s donation of $250,000 is helping create the Emergency Grants relief fund. These grants will help first-generation, low-income students and students of color who are on the path to obtaining a degree.

 “We have a long history of creating and supporting education initiatives for our customers and employees,” says Melissa Kersey, Chief People Officer, McDonald’s USA. “Acknowledging the impact COVID-19 is having on students and 2020 graduates, we are honored to contribute to the Reach Higher emergency grants fund and participate in the #DearClassof2020 event. We remain committed to supporting the communities we serve, which is especially important as we face the impact of this pandemic and are reminded of the inequalities underserved communities face daily.”

McDonald’s contribution to this Reach Higher initiative underscores the company’s ongoing commitment to education and the diverse communities it serves. Participation in #DearClassof2020 complements McDonald’s involvement in 2019 Reach Higher signature programs, including Celebrating the School Counselor of the Year, College Signing Day and the Beating the Odds Summit. Last year’s efforts also included Mrs. Obama, through Archways to Opportunity, celebrating graduate Ron Williams and Brea Williams, a Black & Positively Golden/Thurgood Marshall Fund scholarship recipient.

“McDonald’s owner/operators have a legacy of supporting our communities by providing local scholarships, giving to schools, donating food through  efforts like our recent ‘Thank You Meal,’ and much more,” said Vicki Chancellor, Atlanta-based McDonald’s owner/operator and chair of the McDonald’s national franchisee brand committee. “We know our communities have been impacted in a variety of ways during this time, and are proud to continue giving back to those who have always been there for us.”

Additional education programs include the HACER® National Scholarship for Hispanic students, McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Scholarships to students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and the McDonald’s/APIA Scholarship program for Asian/Pacific Islander students. With the McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity program, eligible employees at participating U.S. restaurants are able to earn a high school diploma, receive upfront college tuition assistance, access free education/career advising services and learn English as a second language.

These programs have supported a number of students on their path to higher learning through their financial impact. Since 2008, the HACER National Scholarship has awarded nearly $5M in financial assistance to 75 students across the country. The McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden scholarships have awarded $120,000 to 12 students since starting in 2018. In its inaugural year, the McDonald’s/APIA Scholarship will award a total of $500,000 to 55 students. To date, Archways to Opportunity has increased access to over 55,000 restaurant employees and awarded more than $100M in tuition assistance.

For more information about McDonald’s engagement in our communities, please visit

About McDonald’s Corp. U.S. COVID-19 Relief Efforts

McDonald’s approach to challenging situations is guided by our belief that we are all in this together, and our system has come together in extraordinary ways to help each other, our customers and the communities we serve. We’re committed to caring for local heroes who are caring for our country, which is why we’re honored to have served nearly 12 million free Thank You Meals to first responders, a value of more than $63 million. We continue to lead by example as an organization during these unprecedented times, which is why we’ve also donated over $6.7 million in food to support local communities, made commitments to support truck drivers across the country, donated 1 million N95 masks to Chicago and the state of Illinois and donated $1 million to the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund to ensure non-profits in our home state have the supplies they need during this time. McDonald’s has always been a home base for our communities, and we’re proud to provide calm and comfort to them throughout this crisis. We are here to serve.

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