April 12, 2022

The 1954 Project Announces 2022 Luminaries


Meredith Leigh Moore

on behalf of CAFE Group 612-520-7569


CHICAGO (April 12, 2022) -The Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education Group (CAFE Group) will award five $1 million grants to Black leaders in education during the 1954 Project Luminary Awards on April 28. Actor and comedian Cedric the Entertainer, whose mother was an educator, kicks off the 2nd annual event. Musician and education advocate Pharrell Williams and actress Vanessa Bell Calloway are featured presenters in the virtual awards show.

The 1954 Project has raised nearly one-third of its $100 million goal through contributions from its founders, Don and Liz Thompson; the Walton Family Foundation; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and many other donors.

“For this year’s Luminary grants, we received over 200 applications from Black leaders in education,” said Liz Thompson, The CAFE Group President. “We are so impressed by the caliber of the applicants that—in addition to the $5 million we’re awarding—we’re funding an additional $250K to outstanding finalists to further support the vast ecosystem of Black-led education nonprofits.”

The CAFE Group is thrilled to introduce the five Luminaries below.

In the category of Diversity in Education:

Adrinda Kelly, Black Education for New Orleans
Black Education for New Orleans supports Black educators and select Black-led schools in the Crescent City.

In the category of Teaching and Learning:

Nikole Collins-Puri, Techbridge Girls (Oakland, California)
Techbridge Girls equips educators and STEM professionals with curriculum and training for BIPOC girls pursuing STEM.

Jamyle Cannon, The Bloc (Chicago)
The Bloc leverages sports-based education to provide academic and social resources to youth.

Will Jackson, Village of Wisdom (Durham, North Carolina)
Village of Wisdom uses Black parent power to ensure Black learners a culturally affirming educational environment.

In the category of Economic Mobility:

Jerelyn Rodriguez, The Knowledge House Fellowship (Bronx, New York)
The Knowledge House Fellowship teaches digital skills to populate the education-to-employment pipeline nationwide.

The 1954 Project 2022 Luminary Awards are on April 28, 2022. Learn more at 1954Project.org.


The Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education Group, The CAFE Group, a 501(c)3, was founded in 2014 by Liz and Don Thompson. It is committed to supporting and mentoring students and professionals through various stages in life and to broadening the landscape of African-American philanthropy. Learn more at thecafe.org.

The 1954 Project is a philanthropic initiative that champions Black leadership to fulfill the promise of quality education for ALL. The 1954 project exists at the intersection of education, leadership, and giving. Learn more at 1954project.org



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