Posted on June 6th, 2016

First class of scholarship recipients will benefit 10 students who will receive approximately $80,000

CHARLESTON, S.C. May 31, 2016 – Coastal Community Foundation today announced the first scholarship recipients of the Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program, established at the Foundation in memory of the June 17, 2015 massacre at Emanuel A.M.E. Church. The scholarship program, which is dedicated to promoting access to higher education for African American students, consists of 10 scholars in its first class from Beaufort, Charleston and Jasper Counties who will receive approximately $80,000 and supportive resources from the Foundation during their college career. Scholars are eligible to renew the award each year of college as long as they maintain good standing in the program, with an expected total award of $320,000 to the Class of 2016 scholars over their four years of college.

“On behalf of the founding donors, we are proud to announce the first class of Reverend Pinckney Scholars,” said Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., William M. Lewis, Jr. and Former Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr., members of the scholar selection committee. “We look forward to seeing how the scholars grow throughout college and achieve great things as we stay in touch and as we support them through the program.”

“This scholarship program is a wonderful tribute to my late husband,” said Jennifer Pinckney, widow of Reverend Pinckney. “I am excited about getting to know the scholars through the program and helping them grow as leaders in the future.”

“After meeting many of the scholarship finalists, I am confident that our first group of recipients will honor the best of Reverend Pinckney’s legacy and all who lost their lives at Mother Emanuel last June,” said Darrin Goss, Sr., President and CEO of Coastal Community Foundation. “Their commitment to leadership and dedication to our community will carry them far in college and life.”

Class of 2016 Reverend Pinckney Scholars (with high school and planned college choice)

Monejah Black


Monejah Black, Charleston Charter School for Math and Science (Winthrop University)



Altoria Brown


Altoria Brown, Gordon H. Garrett Academy of Technology (North Carolina A&T State University)



Christian Carter


Christian Carter, Battery Creek High School (North Carolina State University)



Brian DeLesline


Brian DeLesline, Baptist Hill High School (Charleston Southern University)



Natrese Dorsey


Natrese Dorsey, North Charleston High School (Georgia State University)



Carmen Hamilton


Carmen Hamilton, Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School (Charleston Southern University)



Kayla Hasty


Kayla Hasty, Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School (South Carolina State University)



Henry Jones


Henry Jones, Beaufort High School (University of South Carolina – Upstate)



Kierra White


Kierra White, R.B. Stall High School (Spelman College)



Denzel Wright


Denzel Wright, Baptist Hill High School (College of Charleston)



The inaugural class of Reverend Pinckney Scholars are heavily involved in student leadership: four are in their school’s ROTC program, six are in National Honors Society, seven are in student government and eight are student mentors. All volunteer in their communities, doing everything from helping out at nursing homes to working as poll managers. Their career goals vary from journalism to nursing, politics to physical therapy, and even counseling in the juvenile justice system.

For 2016, the first year of the Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program, the Foundation accepted applicants from three counties – Beaufort, Charleston and Jasper – with plans to expand the program in the future. Foundation staff worked directly with high school guidance staff and other community members, conducting extensive outreach across the three counties to promote awareness of the new program, which ultimately led to 72 applications. All initial applications were reviewed by an ad-hoc committee of community members before finalists were selected for in-person interviews with the scholar selection committee on May 16.

Programming for the scholars will begin this summer with an initial orientation session in June. A contracted trainer will be brought in July to cover topics pertaining to the college transition, such as time management and on-campus resources. Foundation staff will develop a communication schedule with each scholar for the fall semester and reunite the scholar cohort during winter break.

About the Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program: On July 2, 2015, a group of anonymous donors, moved by the tragic murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church and Charleston’s remarkable response to the shooting, created a $3.2 million scholarship fund in honor of Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney. In March 2016, Coastal Community Foundation began to administer the scholarship fund and its companion program, the Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program.

About Coastal Community Foundation: Coastal Community Foundation empowers individuals, families and organizations to make a lasting impact through permanent, endowed funds for charitable giving. The Foundation serves Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry and Jasper counties. To learn more, go to or call (843) 723-3635.