Two Black women, who are also successful restaurant owners, just paid it forward by paying off the balances of 30 seniors at Clark Atlanta University. In other words, they just sprinkled some of their Black Girl Magic!
Pinky Cole of the virally successful Slutty Vegan and Stacey Lee of the craft beer bar, Harlem Hops, came together to clear the way for students with financial barriers that would have prevented them from graduating.
Because of Them We Can spoke to Cole to learn how the generous act happened.
“Stacey Lee brought me the idea who owns Harlem Hops in New York City. She said ‘let’s come together and help these kids,’ and there wasn’t any question. God has been so good to us both [and] it just felt right,” she told Because of Them We Can.
As alumni of Clark Atlanta University, the two embody the school’s motto, “I’ll find a way or make one.” Last month, they met and surprised some of the students with the news that their balances had been taken care of.
“They gave us a list of students that were seniors who wouldn’t be able to graduate because they had outstanding balances so we chose from that list. That was our first time meeting them in person, they had no clue,” Cole said.
A former Miss Clark Atlanta University, Cole shared some of the struggles she faced as a first generation college student.
“Growing up in a single family household, and being the first to go to college, I know what it feels like to not know where the money is coming from. But there were people who believed in me despite my circumstances and I wanted to be that person for someone else,” she said.
Cole’s restaurant, Slutty Vegan, has became a multi-million dollar company in less than a year. Since its launch, it has grown from a food truck in Atlanta, to a curbside restaurant, to a newly purchased building that will house another Slutty Vegan restaurant right in Jonesboro, GA. Yes, the restaurant’s name is disruptive by design, but Cole’s goal has always been to raise curiosity and interest in order to spread the benefits of a plant based diet to the masses, and its working.
“We’re slated to have 13 locations by 2021. It’s the most popular restaurant in Atlanta where people wait hours to try their plant based burgers,” Cole told Because of Them We Can.
Despite its popularity on social media or the fact that Slutty Vegan has become every celebrities favorite restaurant, she has remained focused on what matters most — service. She has already given away over $100,000 to help young adults go to school and just last month the restaurant placed over 1,500 pounds of fruits and vegetables outside for people in the Atlanta area to take free of charge as a thank you for their support.
“It feels good to be in a position where you can bless other people, that’s what success really is… it’s bigger than you,” Cole said.
Both Cole and Lee are members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, an organization that admonishes its members to commit to a lifetime of scholarship, sisterhood and service. We think it’s safe to say Pinky and Stacey are doing just that.