Bringing Tutwiler to the World
First stop: Cleveland, Ohio
Tutwiler Community Education Center Advanced to the Semiﬁnals of the Yass Prize!
The Yass Prize is an annual competition rewarding K-12 education innovators in the U.S., particularly those serving underserved students, focusing on sustainable, transformational, outstanding, and permissionless education models. It's supported by the Center for Education Reform and Forbes, highlighting educators who embody the Yass Prize principles that embody educational choice.
We received a $200k Semifinalist Award as one of 33 semifinalists out of 2,700 applicants.
By the way, Alicia Hill and Kimora Tyler, my two 24-year-old colleagues, born and raised in the Delta, charmed everyone they met, including "competitors," Forbes journalists, and ﬁnalists from last year's Yass Prize. It's people like Alicia and Kimora who will be the future of this organization. I'm the blunt instrument (James Bond fans know).
This validates that dreams can ﬂourish even in the most challenging terrains. It's proof that the Delta can be seen as a place ripe for innovation, transformation, and, most importantly—hope.
That kind of windfall isn't just money—it's job readiness programs, wellness initiatives, and the seed money for a network of microschools that will change the face of education in the Delta.
So, to our team, supporters, and anyone who's ever believed in the impossible—this is our journey, and it's far from over. Thank you for being part of this fantastic ride—much gratitude to the Yass Prize
Make An Impact to Help Us Grow
Please select your gift amount. Your gift is tax-deductible.
$25,000 - Tree of Life: Support the history, skill, and dedication of the Tutwiler quilters. A celebration of our roots and our growth.
$10,000 - Magnolia Level: Provide support, mentoring, financial literacy, and job training to our community's emerging youth
$5,000 - Friendship Oak Level: Give the gift of music by supporting the Sonny Boy Williamson Legacy Music Education and Performance program.
$2,500 - Birch Level: Support our Seniors Program with social interaction, resources, prevention & wellness opportunities, and healthy meals.
$1,000- Maple Level: Provide educational enrichment, physical fitness, and music to our children participating in the After-School Program.
$500 - Beauty Berry: Provide our teens & young adults with a safe place for physical activities, nutritional instruction, and social skills building.
GIVING IS TAX-DEDUCTIBLE in accordance with IRS requirements, we acknowledge that the Tutwiler Community Education Center has not provided any goods or services in consideration, in whole or part, for this contribution. You may wish to consult your tax advisor with regard to your personal tax situation
After the Yass Prize, the journey continued in New York City at the American Folk Art Museum's annual gala. This event was more than a celebration; it was a strategic opportunity for our current and future leaders to advocate for our cause among the influential and affluent, sharing the narrative of Tutwiler's transformation. The gala also marked a significant collaboration with the American Folk Art Museum, bringing Delta arts to our students and the global stage.
Our time in NYC, from the Apollo Theater's historic ambiance to the authentic Italian flavors at Settepani in Harlem, was a vivid tapestry of cultural richness. Susan Rogers, a Tutwiler quilter for 30 years, showcased her craft at the gala, symbolizing the fusion of tradition and innovation that defines our mission.
Bringing Tutwiler's achievements to a broader audience has been a critical goal since my arrival 10-and-a-half months ago. Nights like these, filled with bridge-building and celebration, reinforce our commitment to the belief that education and community are the cornerstones of success. Here's to continued progress, connecting with partners, and the unwavering pursuit of our vision.