Honda Launches ‘Drive the Legacy’ Initiative to Advance its Long-term Commitment to HBCUs

January 26th, 2024 by
Honda Launches ‘Drive the Legacy’ Initiative to Advance its Long-term Commitment to HBCUs
  • Honda providing over $550,000 in new financial grants to HBCUs for 2023-2024 academic year.
  • Programs aim to support HBCUs and recruit top talent to Honda careers.
  • Initiative includes partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and HBCU initiatives funded through Honda’s Corporate Social Responsibility and the Honda USA Foundation Pillars for Environment, Education, Mobility, Community, and Traffic Safety.

Honda has launched a new, multifaceted initiative called “Drive the Legacy” to advance the company’s longstanding commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and attract top talent to Honda careers. The initiative focuses on four key pillars: educational and career opportunities, program and infrastructure support, outreach and advocacy, and unique experiences that celebrate HBCU culture.

For more than three decades, Honda has positively impacted the lives of nearly 300,000 HBCU students and awarded over $14 million in grants supporting HBCU education programs and facility improvements.  Through the “Drive the Legacy” initiative, Honda partners with HBCUs and organizations such as the National Urban League, as well as local UNCF chapters, to pursue various grant programs, including the Honda Thurgood Marshall College Fund Immersion Experience, and the Honda DreamCab YouTube series, which awards students with prizes for engaging in an educational quiz show.

“Honda is proud to support HBCUs in their unique and critical role of providing higher education and opportunities for advancement to the Black community,” said Yvette Hunsicker, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility and Inclusion & Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “Drive the Legacy builds on the special relationship that has developed between Honda and HBCUs and will serve as the foundation for new opportunities we can create for students and the HBCU community.

Honda Thurgood Marshall College Fund Immersion Event
In August 2023, Honda hosted 28 HBCU students at its Ohio manufacturing and R&D operations for the company’s first-ever immersion event with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF). This unique four-day experience provided TMCF scholars with educational and career development opportunities, as well as an immersion into Honda operations and culture. Students toured the company’s Marysville Auto Plant and North American Auto Development Center; participated in discussions with Honda associates, leaders and members of the African American Resource Collaborative (AARCH), a Honda Business Resource Group (BRG); and even had the opportunity to take hot laps in an Acura NSX supercar driven by members of the Honda of America Racing Team (HART).

“We’re excited to provide HBCU students unique opportunities to learn about Honda and the many exciting careers available across our U.S. operations in engineering, manufacturing, supply chain management and other areas,” said Hunsicker. “We believe a diverse and inclusive workforce yields innovation and creativity, and our hope is that when HBCU students are thinking about their future, they can envision themselves as part of our team and consider a career at Honda.”

Honda University Grant Support
Honda’s commitment to HBCUs extends through various grant programs. These include supporting STEAM and scholarship programs, research, traffic safety initiatives, early childhood development, mobility and environmental initiatives. Examples of these programs include the Alabama A&M University’s STEM Star Scholars Initiative, the Alabama State University Traffic Safety Program, the FASTRAC Program with Tuskegee University and the JELMA Summer Youth Arts Institute at Morgan State University.

“The enthusiasm and talent we’ve seen from students at institutions like Tuskegee University are truly inspiring,” said Jonathan Lessa, FASTRAC Program Lead, Alabama Auto Plant (AAP) Quality Manager and Chair of the AAP African American Resource Collaborative of Honda (AARCH) Business Resource Group (BRG). “While the FASTRAC Program is just one example, it highlights the broader impact of Honda’s commitment to HBCUs. Our support goes beyond individual programs; it’s about empowering the entire infrastructure and academic fabric of these universities. This approach not only nurtures student potential but also aligns with Honda’s vision of fostering diverse and innovative future leaders.”

Honda DreamCab
Launching in February, DreamCab is a fun YouTube series hosted by Nia Symone, where HBCU students take a ride in a Honda HR-V to participate in an exciting game show. Students showcase their HBCU pride, answer trivia questions and can win up to $1,000 cash! The featured HBCU is Clark Atlanta University. You can watch on the Honda Creative Studio YouTube channel here.

Honda x HBCU Mentoring Circle Program
Honda is excited to announce the return of the Honda x HBCU Mentoring Circle Program for 2024, following its successful launch in 2023. This initiative, designed to empower HBCU students through career exploration, readiness, networking and peer support, selected 14 students for mentoring by Honda leaders and HBCU alumni in its first year.

The application process for the 2024 program opened earlier this month, signaling the start of another enriching journey. Set to commence in February, the program will connect students with Honda associates, all of whom are HBCU graduates, across the U.S. These mentors will impart valuable insights from their experiences at Honda, focusing on developing presentation skills, building professional relationships, and strategic career planning.

Honda’s Partnership with the National Urban League BEEP Program
As part of its commitment to fostering educational and career opportunities, Honda is proud to collaborate with the National Urban League’s Business Executive Exchange Program (BEEP). This career readiness and development program supports college students within a top-tier, highly targeted college and university network. Through BEEP, Honda leaders visit 10 campuses during the school year, participating in classroom lectures, panel discussions and student networking events. This initiative empowers the next generation of Black, Latinx, AAPI and Native leaders to succeed in their professional careers and local communities, offering them access to career resources, advice and guidance from executives at some of the largest organizations in the world.

Enhanced Associate Engagement with Universities
Honda’s commitment to HBCUs is further demonstrated through active engagement by our associates. Through programs like the Alabama A&M University’s STEM Star Scholars Initiative and the Alabama State University – BEST Robotics Hub, Honda associates from various departments, including the Alabama Auto Plant, actively participate in mentoring, guest lectures and hands-on workshops. These interactions not only provide students with real-world insights into their fields of study but also strengthen the bond between Honda and the HBCU community.

Foundational Honda HBCU Programs
Honda’s longstanding commitment to HBCUs is exemplified through its foundational programs, which have been instrumental in nurturing student success and fostering a vibrant HBCU culture:

  • Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC): Since its inception in 1989, HCASC has celebrated Black excellence and academic prowess. This year-round program culminates in a championship tournament, bringing together over 200 students and coaches from 32 HBCUs. It has become America’s premier academic competition for HBCU students, awarding more than $8 million in grants.
  • Honda Battle of the Bands (HBOB): Established in 2002, HBOB is the nation’s premier showcase for HBCU marching bands. This event not only celebrates the musical and choreographic talents of these bands but also provides them with a platform to reach millions of fans. Each participating university receives a grant from Honda to support their music education and career development programs.

As we continue to forge a path of excellence and opportunity, Honda invites everyone to join us in this transformative journey. To stay informed about the latest developments in the “Drive the Legacy” initiative, explore our diverse programs, partnerships and their significant impact on HBCUs, please visit

Honda and Historically Black Colleges and Universities
For over 30 years, Honda has supported the success and dreams of Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students through initiatives including the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge and Honda Battle of the Bands. These programs provide unforgettable experiences and opportunities for HBCU students, including meeting and networking with peers from other HBCU schools. Honda has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 students and awarded over $14 million in grants in support of HBCU education programs and facilities improvements.

To advance its leading investment in HBCUs, Honda is a member of the HBCU Partnership Challenge, a Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus initiative that brings together government, industry and HBCUs to create strategic, more sustainable HBCU partnerships. Honda also has partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to provide annual scholarship funding to support HBCU students pursuing an education in engineering, supply chain management and manufacturing-related fields.

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