The inaugural fellowship will support students attending schools that are part of the Atlanta University Center Consortium, a non-profit corporation consisting of three historically Black colleges and universities: Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College and Morehouse College.
“It is with great honor, privilege, and excitement to announce the Spike Fellows in association with my partners The Gersh Agency and the AUCC,” Lee said in a statement. “From the jump, from the get-go, I knew when (not if) I opened a crack in the door, I was bringing as many Black and Brown folks with me in front and behind the camera.”
Lee added, “I know firsthand the education one receives at a Historically Black College and University. I am who I am because of my grandmother (Zimmie Jackson) and my mother (Jacquelyn Shelton Lee) who both graduated from Spelman College. I am who I am because of my grandfather (Richard Jackson Shelton) and my father (William Lee) who both graduated from Morehouse. It’s on the campuses of Spelman and Morehouse where they met, fell in love, and got married. As my elders often told me, ‘Deeds not words.'”
The Spike Fellows Program — led by Jayson Council, head of culture at Gersh — will provide five graduating students from AUCC academic debt relief, industry mentorship, post-graduate internships and full-time employment.
“As industry leaders, we’ve always taken seriously the responsibility to build a more diverse, dynamic ecosystem in which people of all ethnicities, backgrounds and experiences can thrive,” said Leslie Siebert, Gersh senior managing partner. “We are honored that Spike has chosen us to be his inaugural partner, and we are proud to welcome the five inaugural Spike Fellows into our organization.”
The Spike Fellows Program will begin in January with five fellows selected by a panel including Lee, the AUCC community and Gersh management.