Hennessy Drives Diversity with “Hennessy Fellows”

Jun. 7, 2019

Hennessy Invests in African American Leaders


As the makers of fine cognac, Hennessy understands that to create greatness, you have to plan ahead, invest in the future, and keep your eyes on the prize. To that end, the company recently partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) to support the growth of the next generation of African American business leaders. The legendary distiller has made a multi-million-dollar commitment to foster and promote African Americans in leadership positions through the TMCF’s first-ever corporate graduate program for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

Specifically, Hennessy is backing up their commitment to further expand diversity in corporate leadership positions by committing $10 million dollars over the next 10 years to the TMCF, itself the pre-eminent national organization dedicated to promoting educational excellence among students attending HBCUs for graduate studies. The first applicants are currently under evaluation by the TMCF for classes in the fall. The “Hennessy Fellows” scholarships are built to empower the next generation of African American leaders through financial aid, access to training, professional development experiences and real-world skill application.

According to a statement from Hennessy, the TMCF’s visions of “Changing the World… One Leader at a Time” aligns with Hennessy's own mantra of “Never stop. Never settle,” which reflects what one can achieve by pushing the limits of potential, according to the company. With this partnership, Hennessy extends its already long history of partnership with and support for the African American community—dating back to the early 1900s, when members of Hennessy’s leadership were some of the founders of the organization now known as the National Urban League. Hennessy was also an early corporate sponsor of other organizations such as the NAACP and Tuskegee Institute.

“We are honored to announce a ten-year partnership with Thurgood Marshall College Fund,” said Jim Clerkin, President and CEO of Moët Hennessy North America, in a recent statement. “As a charter corporate sponsor of the fund, we continue to support the work of this organization in developing a pipeline of talent and future leaders from historically Black colleges and universities. I am proud of the work we have done together to date and look forward to continuing our efforts to build a broader, more inclusive talent base for corporate America.”

Giles Woodyer, Senior Vice President, Hennessy US, said, “Continuing a heritage of support and celebration of the African American community that began over one hundred years ago, Hennessy is excited to partner with TMCF to help ensure more diversity in leadership roles.”

In all, ten high-achieving, high-potential graduate students will be chosen per year for this one-of-a-kind opportunity. The TMCF will provide recipients with financial assistance towards collegiate graduate level education programs and curated corporate development experiences, including training forums and networking to enhance the exchange of ideas. Recipients will also see firsthand the interrelatedness of corporate, social and economic systems.

“When such a tremendously successful global brand like Hennessy invests in a higher education non-profit like ours, it tells the world that HBCUs and PBIs have value and are worth investing in, and TMCF is the best steward to carry out such a monumental investment,” said Dr. Harry L. Williams, President & CEO, TMCF. “This is major, and it can't be overlooked as just a financial contribution, it is a real partnership that is a game changer for the students and our community.”

We are proud to partner with Hennessy, bringing their positive message and premium spirits to businesses like yours.

Read Next Article See all Group news

email delivery truck icon

Get news delivered directly to your inbox.

Join our email marketing program for weekly updates on the latest industry trends, product innovations and news.