ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Regions Bank and Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU) on Monday announced a community partnership supporting the Backpack to Briefcase program.
Launched in 2009 as an idea to bridge the gap between college and the workplace, Backpack to Briefcase now includes scholarship, mentorship and sponsorship opportunities serving nearly 450 Missouri students – and counting.
Regions’ $10,000 contribution is the latest example of the bank’s work with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) over many years to support educational opportunities, workforce development, career success and more.
“Today is a very significant day in Backpack to Briefcase’s history,” said Kendra Neely Gage, founder and executive director of the Backpack to Briefcase program. “With the help of Regions Bank, we are solidifying our space and continuously looking to address diversity issues in the workplace and address gaps in corporate America, because when diversity and inclusion are present, it makes a transformational difference in propelling both students and companies forward.”
HSSU Vice President of Institutional Advancement Jeffrey Shaw proposed the idea of the Backpack to Briefcase, Regions Bank and Harris-Stowe community collaboration as an innovative approach to invest in HSSU students.
“We look forward to being able to help remove financial barriers for our scholars and positively impacting the lives of future young professionals through this community partnership.”
Jeffrey Shaw, HSSU Vice President of Institutional Advancement
“Backpack to Briefcase fosters the growth, development and confidence of young men and women as they transition from their academic pursuits to the business world,” Shaw said. “The team at Regions Bank embraced the opportunity to align with our team at Harris-Stowe State University to offer this unique opportunity to HSSU students. We look forward to being able to help remove financial barriers for our scholars and positively impacting the lives of future young professionals through this community partnership.”
HSSU President Dr. LaTonia Collins Smith noted the lasting and transformational impact the Backpack to Briefcase program creates for HSSU graduates as they embark upon their careers.
“This is a program I share when recruiting students because I’ve had the opportunity to witness the magic that happens behind the scenes,” Dr. Collins Smith said. “One of our recent Backpack to Briefcase graduates here at Harris-Stowe recently joined Deloitte, and another, who earned a double major, also received his engineering degree from SLU and is now working as an engineer. We’re incredibly grateful to Regions Bank for not only believing in, but also investing in, this program to empower our students to successful careers.”
While Regions Bank has worked with several HBCUs across the company’s footprint for many years, Eric Madkins, Community Development manager with the bank in Missouri, said this new collaboration is unique given it also engages a nonprofit community partner with Backpack to Briefcase.
“By supporting youth mentorship programs and advancing workforce development, we can be a catalyst in helping prepare tomorrow’s business, civic and community leaders,” Madkins said. “The Backpack to Briefcase program empowers students with soft skills that expand beyond what they learn in the classroom and provide a springboard to a rewarding career through internship opportunities. We are grateful for this opportunity to formalize a community partnership with Harris-Stowe and look forward to serving students well into the future.”
To learn more about Backpack to Briefcase, visit http://bpbcstlouis.com/.
About Harris-Stowe State University
Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU), located in midtown St. Louis, offers the most affordable bachelor’s degree in the state of Missouri. The University is an accredited four-year institution with more than 50 majors, certifications, and certificate program options in education, business, and arts and sciences. Harris-Stowe’s mission is to provide outstanding educational opportunities for individuals seeking a rich and engaging academic experience. HSSU’s programs are designed to nurture intellectual curiosity and build authentic skills that prepare students for leadership roles in a global society. hssu.edu
About Regions Financial Corporation
Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $154 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, and mortgage products and services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates more than 1,250 banking offices and more than 2,000 ATMs. Regions Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at www.regions.com.