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Alumnae Stories

Alumnae Sisters Gift For Entrepreneurial Scholarships

November 2018

Baldwin Richardson Foods Scholarship RecipientsSpelman alumnae and sisters, Erin Johnson Tolefree, C’2001, and Cara Johnson Hughes, C’2003, made a $1.5 million gift as well as a $100,000 gift to the College on behalf of their family business, Baldwin Richardson Foods Co. The gifts will fund full and supplemental scholarships over a 10-year period that support students interested in entrepreneurship.

Two first-year students, Leila Njoya and Mariah Wolfe (both pictured), are the inaugural recipients of the awards. “This scholarship can help me reach heights that I never thought I could,” said Wolfe. Harkening back to their own Spelman experience, Tolefree and Hughes wanted to help future business leaders benefit from all Spelman has to offer. “Spelman has given us so much – beyond the education, a sense of confidence and a support network,” said Tolefree.  “We always said that when we were in a position to give back, we would.”

Leila Njoya, C’2022, a biology major from Woodbury, Minneapolis, is the first recipient of the Baldwin Richardson Foods Annual Scholarship and is grateful for the award. “My college experience has drastically changed for the better. Thanks to this award, I will have the ability to focus completely on my studies and building the foundation for the woman I am destined to become,” she said. “I am extremely thankful to Baldwin Richardson Foods for making such a generous gift to create opportunities from which I and future recipients can greatly benefit.”

Mariah Wolfe, C’2022, an economics major from Chicago is the first recipient of the Erin Johnson Tolefree and Cara Johnson Hughes Endowed Scholarship. “This scholarship can help me reach heights that I never thought I could,” said Wolfe. “Spelman, this place I love, is equipping me in my future goal of becoming a chief operating officer of a well-known franchise. This scholarship is greatly beneficial in helping me achieve that dream.”