The HBCU Impact Awards was an initiative created by our CEO Albert Williams to acknowledge and celebrate individuals, organizations, corporations, and movements that have positively impacted HBCU’s and African American Empowerment.

Kamala Harris

Vice President of The United States

Kamala D. Harris is the Vice President of the United States of America. She was elected Vice President after a lifetime of public service, having been elected District Attorney of San Francisco, California Attorney General, and United States Senator.

Vice President Harris was born in Oakland, California to parents who emigrated from India and Jamaica. She graduated from Howard University and the University of California, Hastings College of Law.

As Vice President, Kamala Harris has worked in partnership with President Joe Biden to get America vaccinated, rebuild our economy, reduce child poverty, and pass an infrastructure law that will lift up communities that have been left behind. She has led the Administration’s efforts in rallying broad coalitions to protect the freedom to vote, expand workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargain, and stand up for women’s rights — supporting women in our workforce, addressing the maternal health crisis, and defending reproductive rights. The Vice President has also played a key role in engaging world leaders and strengthening our nation’s alliances and partnerships. In everything she does, she remains focused on the people of our nation—and our collective future.

Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson

Senior Pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Chairman of the Conference of National Black Churches, Chairman of the National Action Network, Chairman of Virginia Union University

Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson is, first and foremost, a pastor, in the broadest sense of the term. His life’s work stems from his commitment to the biblical mandate of what it means to be a pastor. Dr. Richardson believes in being a voice for the voiceless, feeding those who are hungry, providing shelter for those who are homeless, challenging systems that are unjust and unfair, and seeking justice for the marginalized and victimized. In his current posts – Senior Pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Chairman of the Conference of National Black Churches, Chairman of the National Action Network, Chairman of Virginia Union University, and Board Member of Comcast and Pepsico – Dr. Richardson purposefully lives within his life’s mission and constantly works to be a positive force for change for all those he serves.

For nearly ten (10) years, he has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for his alma mater, Virginia Union University, in Richmond, Virginia. Under Dr. Richardson’s leadership, Virginia Union is positioned to be one of the highest regarded Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the country, as it houses the preeminent seminary for preachers of color, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology. Additionally, with a focus on student success, academic excellence, community partnerships, and financial viability, Dr. Richardson continues to lead Virginia Union upwards toward institutional prominence. Diversity in corporate America is another struggle that Dr. Richardson works relentlessly to influence and improve.

John K. Mara Esq.

President & Chief Executive Officer – NY Giants

John K. Mara is in his 32nd season with the Giants. The franchise’s President and Chief Executive Officer, he assumed the team presidency upon the passing of his father, Wellington Mara, in 2005. Mara joined the Giants in 1991 as General Counsel and later added the title of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

Mara, one of the NFL’s most prominent and respected owners, is the chairman of the league’s Management Council Executive Committee, and he played an important role in negotiating the 2011 and 2020 collective bargaining agreements with the NFLPA. He also serves on several other NFL committees, including for the last 21 years on the influential Competition Committee, which studies all aspects of the game and recommends rules and policy changes to NFL clubs. Mara also serves on the NFL’s Health and Safety, Compensation, Workplace Diversity and Legalized Sports Betting committees.

Spike Lee

Director, Producer, Writer, Professor

Oscar award-winning Spike Lee is a Director, Writer, Actor, Producer, Author, and NYU Grad Film Tenured Professor whose body of work continues to grow over the last three decades. Recent projects include Da 5 Bloods (currently in post-production), Blackkklansman (2018), based on a true story by Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer who infiltrates the local Ku Klux Klan during the 1970s which also premiered at the Cannes Film Festival ad received the esteemed Prix de la Jeunesse Award. Lee’s filming of the play Pass Over premiered at Sundance. He also directed all ten episodes of the hit Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It (2017-2018), which has returned for a second season. 

Born in Atlanta, Georgia and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Lee returned south to attend Morehouse College. After graduation, he returned to New York City to continue his education at NYU/Tisch, where he received his MFA in Film Production. After graduation, he founded 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, based in Brooklyn. He began teaching a course on filmmaking at Harvard in 1991, and in 1993 he joined the faculty at NYU/Tisch in the Graduate Film Program, where he was appointed Artistic Director in 2002, a position which he still holds today.

Sean Diddy Combs


Sean Combs is the definition of a mogul. As the Chairman and CEO of Combs Enterprises, he has a diverse portfolio of businesses and investments covering the music, fashion, fragrance, beverage, marketing, film, television, and media industries with companies such as Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group, Sean John, Combs Wine & Spirits, AQUAhydrate, The Blue Flame Agency, REVOLT Films and REVOLT MEDIA & TV.

Combs has always applied the same drive and entrepreneurial spirit that has defined his entertainment and business success to his philanthropic work and political activism. He led the response to the crisis in Flint, Michigan, pledging one million bottles of water along with a long-term commitment to provide water to Flint citizens until the issue is resolved. He raised more than $2 million for New York City public schools and children suffering from HIV and AIDS by competing in the New York City Marathon. He has supported organizations including the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), the Boys & Girls Club, and others that create opportunities for young people. And, he has served on the board of the Hip Hop Action Network and rallied millions of young people to register to vote and vote during the 2008 election through his Vote or Die project. In 2016, Combs also announced that he was launching a charter school in Harlem.

In 2014, Combs returned to Howard University to receive an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities and deliver the University’s 146th Commencement Address.

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter

Singer, songwriter, and actress

Beyoncé performed in various singing and dancing competitions as a child. She rose to fame in the late 1990s as the lead singer of Destiny’s Child, one of the best-selling girl groups of all time. Their hiatus saw the release of her debut album Dangerously in Love (2003), which featured the US Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles “Crazy in Love” and “Baby Boy“. Beyoncé has been showing love to HBCUs for decades. 

The most recent instance was in September 2021, when Tiffany & Co. announced they would be donating $2M in scholarship funding to Historically Black Colleges and Universities in collaboration with Beyoncé and Jay-Z. The couple, operating through their respective foundations (The Shawn Carter Foundation and BeyGOOD), will grant funding to the following schools: Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, Norfolk State University in Virginia, Bennett College in North Carolina, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Central State University in Ohio

Asé Design Studio is a collaborative design-build practice based in Baltimore, Maryland founded in 2021 by Lawrence Moore (Heavy Paper Co) and Darryl Patterson (D. Patterson design studio).  The Studio produces limited-edition and custom furniture, home furnishings, and wooden serve ware which can be purchased at their retail store—Lottie’s Place. Both founders are self-taught artists and woodworkers.

A native of New York City, Lawrence is a graduate of University at Buffalo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Services.  Prior to the founding of Heavy Paper Co, he taught middle school in Baltimore City.  When he is not creating in the Studio, you can find Lawrence roller skating, on a tennis court, or at a ballroom showcasing his latest Chicago Step dance moves.

Darryl grew up in Prince George’s County Maryland and Washington, DC.  He graduated from Morgan State University with a degree in Business Administration and Finance, and is a 30-year careerist with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  Darryl loves all things ‘art’ and enjoys track and field events.     

Lawrence and Darryl can be reached at asedesign520@gmail.com 

General Information