T.D. Jakes Foundation Launches to Raise $100M for STEAM Education in Underserved Communities

The nonprofit foundation will be led by Hattie Hill—former president and CEO of Women’s Foodservice Forum—who says she plans to focus on tech, especially on increasing the diversity of coding engineers.

Dallas-based leaders T.D. Jakes and Hattie Hill announced the launch of the T.D. Jakes Foundation. Hill is being named as its CEO and president, while Jakes will serve as Chairman of the Board. The foundation’s goal is to build bridges for opportunities in STEAM fields worldwide by providing support for underserved populations and connecting businesses to new, skilled talent pools.

Education and training will be provided through Dream Centers planned for cities across the U.S., which will furnish practical tools needed to excel in STEAM jobs. Hill is expected to lead the group to a $100 million fundraising goal.

T.D. Jakes and Hattie Hill with Gayle King on launch day. [Image: Courtesy T.D. Jakes Foundation]

“Underserved communities usually can’t access the resources needed to succeed at—or even apply for—21st Century STEAM jobs, and those are the jobs that are becoming most plentiful,” Hill said in a statement. “The T.D. Jakes Foundation will not only build a pipeline of educated youth but will also train adults because companies are in desperate need for employees right now. With Chairman Jakes’ convening power and the foundation’s vision, I believe we can make a hugely positive impact economically and socially.”

Before taking the helm at the T.D. Jakes Foundation, Hill served as president and CEO of Women’s Foodservice Forum, with her background including more than three decades of promoting and developing diversity, inclusion, and gender equity strategies for foundations, nonprofits, and corporations such as IBM, Southwest Airlines, and McDonald’s.

Hattie Hill [Image: Courtesy T.D. Jakes Foundation]

Hill is bringing a tech focus to her leadership role, particularly in increasing the diversity of coders globally.

“If artificial intelligence follows the partialities of its creators, then we need more women and more people of color involved in coding,” Hill said in a statement. “I’m grateful to use my experience in diversity and inclusion to influence the make-up of tech companies and their employees. It only makes sense that the coders behind the screen accurately represent the rest of the world looking at it.”

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