Pinky Cole Gifts $8.9M to Savannah State Class of 2024 to Help Fund Support For Aspiring Entrepreneurs


May 9, 2024

Savannah State University’s class of 2024 just got the best graduation gift ever!

Pinky Cole Hayes, founder of Slutty Vegan and Bar Vegan, gave an inspiring commencement speech for the Savannah State University 2024 graduating class–and then surprised them all by announcing the entire class would receive an $8.75 million “Entrepreneurial Starter Pack,” Black Enterprise reports.

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“We are excited about this fantastic opportunity for our students and grateful to Mrs. Cole Hayes for leading this investment opportunity,” said Savannah State University Interim President Cynthia Robinson Alexander.

Each graduate will receive $25,000 worth of entrepreneurial resources to help fund their future businesses. They will also receive a free three-month subscription to Shopify and an eight-week small business training course that will encompass business plan development and financial management.

Cole Hayes hopes this investment will give the students a head start as they prepare to enter “the real world” and provide a path toward creating generational wealth within the Black community. 


“This graduating class has experienced so much adversity. Their college years began with a global pandemic and they have had to navigate their lives through unprecedented events. Through it all, they have thrived and are ready to enter the ‘real world’ with more experience and the confidence to face life’s new challenges,” Cole Hayes said. “I believe in these graduates, and I hope that this gift will help them as they transition into this next phase of their lives.” 

Pinky Cole Hayes is as well-known for her philanthropy as she is for her delectable vegan burgers and fries. She recently sponsored the senior prom for Atlanta’s Benjamin E. Mays High School and gifted an LLC to every graduate of her alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, in 2022.

The entrepreneur, wife, and mother partnered with Operation Hope and One Million Black Businesses (1MBB) to bring this gift to Savannah State’s students. 


“Pinky Cole Hayes is a living example of what happens when a brilliant idea meets opportunity,” John Hope Bryant, CEO and founder of Operation Hope, shared. “We want to offer opportunities to as many brilliant ideas as we can reach and are excited to partner with Pinky to help lift up the next generation of Black entrepreneurial excellence.”

Cover Photo: Pinky Cole Gifts $8.9M to Savannah State Class of 2024 to Help Fund Support For Aspiring Entrepreneurs / Photo credit: Black Enterprise

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