Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, the pastor of the oldest African American congregation in Alexandria, in Northern Virginia, presented Howard University with a $100,000 gift to cover the outstanding tuition and fee balances of 34 graduating seniors.
Wesley, ministers, and staff of the Alfred Street Baptist Church (ASBC) announced the contribution during a service at Howard University’s Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel.
ASBC was joined by Howard’s Office of Financial Aid to present unexpecting seniors with the good news.
The ASBC is a long-time supporter of the historically black college and university (HBCU) community. The faith community also made a contribution of $25,000 to a designated HBCU during their annual HBCU Sunday worship services.
“Pastor Wesley told me I’m having my tuition balance covered thanks to the Alfred Street Baptist Church,” said Inestin D. Petit-Homme. “That was one of the main issues for me and my family in terms of graduating because it’s been a long road even getting to senior year. I still have some rent to pay as well as the balance, in addition to the expense of graduation.”
The church holds one of the largest free HBCU festivals in the nation annually; which will be held on Saturday, February 23 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
“The gift of $100,000 from Alfred Street Baptist Church to help our students pay off their financial obligations and make ends meet just before they graduate is truly a blessing,” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick. “Their generosity is a reminder of how one person’s selfless act of kindness can be multiplied and have a profound impact on the lives of others.”
The ASBC congregation raised the funds for the contribution during a church-wide physical, social media, and financial fast that lasted throughout the month of January.
“We decided to come to Howard University to find some students who are about to change the world but have some financial concerns, and let them know we’re going to take care of it for them,” Pastor Wesley said.