After years of planning and collaborating with NCCU leaders, Dr. Lee Barnes, president of Family Fare, Jeff Mercer, Business Consultant for Family Fare and Jay Harris, owner of Harris Beverages recently presented the gift to Johnson O. Akinleye, Ph.D., chancellor of NCCU and the NCCU School of Business and Division of Institutional Advancement teams. The gift establishes the Family Fare Endowed Entrepreneurship Program Fund and will be matched with a Title III federal grant for a total impact of $50,000.
Akinleye expressed his gratitude: “I am thankful that local companies like Family Fare and Harris Beverages give back to the communities in which they serve. With this gift, North Carolina Central University will nurture future entrepreneurs who continue the legacy of our graduates who lead businesses in the Triangle region and across the state of North Carolina.”
Anthony Nelson, Ph.D., dean of the NCCU School of Business was equally elated to receive the gift. “We are extremely grateful for the partnership with Family Fare. The School of Business prepares students by emphasizing the key ingredients for success in today’s future business leaders. These ingredients include entrepreneurial thinking, and this endowment helps us to further our mission.”
Jeff Mercer, a member of NCCU’s Board of Visitors, revealed that “North Carolina Central University provided me a foundation that I have utilized in my business endeavors. I want to give back with not only my time on the board, but in a financially recognizable way for helping students understand and appreciate entrepreneurship.”
The funding will be used to establish an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub that will serve as a co-working space and training ground for NCCU students interested in launching entrepreneurial ventures.
Family Fare Convenience Stores is headquartered in Durham, N.C., and has over 100 locations throughout North Carolina and Virginia.
Harris Beverages is the premier distributor of beverages to stores in an eight-county area in central North Carolina and Durham’s only locally owned and operated beverage wholesaler.
PHOTO (Pictured L-R): Mr. Joey Nelson, Triangle Regional Representative, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis Office; Mr. Jay Harris, President, Harris Wholesale; Dr. Lee Barnes, President and CEO, Family Fare; Dr. Johnson O. Akinleye, Chancellor, North Carolina Central University; Mr. Jeff Mercer, NCCU Alumnus ‘79, Regional Manager and Business Consultant, Family Fare; Dr. Anthony Nelson, Dean, North Carolina Central University School of Business; and Dr. Gia Soublet, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement, North Carolina Central University.