Fundraising efforts are underway to help keep Stillman College thriving in west Tuscaloosa.
In a letter to the community posted on Facebook, Stillman College's National Alumni Association president is asking for continued financial support for the 140-year-old college.
The college is asking the city to back it on an over $600,000 loan to help pay summer operating expenses. Friday, city leaders will meet with Stillman’s administration to try and come up with ways to help.
"It’s definitely important to save Stillman. Stillman is a core of the community,” Portia Shepherd said.
Shepherd's dad Robert is a 1972 Stillman grad. She created a GoFundMe campaign in his memory to raise a thousand dollars. It’s a part of a much larger community effort to raise $100,000 for Stillman.
"You are talking about students who can't get into the University of Alabama. You are talking about students that some can but a lot of them couldn't and so Stillman gives them that starting point that say I am somebody too. I'm someone who wants to be great as well,” Shepherd said.
Well-known comedian and Tuscaloosa native Steve Brown who is a 1993 Stillman graduate says the college is a pillar of the city. Brown continues his fundraising efforts as well. He says proceeds from his annual comedy show at the BamaTheater in October will go directly to fundraising efforts.
"Tuscaloosa without Stillman would really be a black eye to our city. A lot of great people have come out of Stillman and they've turned around and done a lot to the community. We (alumni) have to give back if we want the school to continue no ifs ands or buts about it,” Brown added.
Brown has also reached out to radio personality Tom Joyner to try and get his show to the area to help raise funds as well.
Another fundraiser hosted by Stillman grads will take place Friday, July 29 at Seven Lounge in Fairfield. The “HBCU Grads Fundraiser” will take place at 8 p.m. at 7070 Aaron Aronov Drive.
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