NEWARK, NJ — Columbia Bank recently sponsored the 2022 Historically Black College or University Scholarship Ride, an annual 216-mile bike ride from Newark to Howard University in Washington, D.C. The program was instituted to raise scholarship monies awarded to high school graduates in Newark who will attend an HBCU, and help bridge the gap between a deserving student’s desire for educational excellence, and the ability to pay for that experience.
Columbia Bank’s participation is part of its commitment efforts to foster the Newark area. The bank recently opened its second branch in the city.
The 2022 HBCU Scholarship Ride kicked off Aug. 26, departing from Military Park in Newark. After the two-day route through Philadelphia and parts of Maryland, the ride ended Aug. 28 on Howard University’s main campus, followed by a finish line celebration.
The HBCU Scholarship Ride started from founder Hassan Abdus-Sabur’s passion for giving black students the opportunity to attend an HBCU. Having attended Howard University in the ’90s, Abdus-Sabur experienced the value an HBCU offers young black minds. Due to unforeseen financial circumstances Abdus-Sabur had to return to Newark to help support his family. On a whim, in August of 2020 during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and widespread economic disparity, he reached out to five of his avid cyclist friends, explained his vision, and created a fundraiser centered around a journey on bikes from Newark to Howard University. The group livestreamed their trek and turned to social media to document the voyage as they passed through four states in the heat of summer and encountered multiple obstacles. The end result: They raised $6,500 to aid in the education of a young Newark woman.
The fundraiser continues to grow each year. The 2021 HBCU Scholarship Ride set a goal of raising $25,000 to assist two deserving students, but with the outpouring of community support, $38,000 was garnered. The additional money resulted in not only being able to provide a $10,000 scholarship to two Howard University freshmen, but also smaller need-based grants to five more Howard students.
The final amount raised this year has not been released yet.
“Thank you to Columbia Bank for being a top-tier sponsor of the HBCU Bike Ride this year,” Abdus-Sabur said. “Their contribution has made it possible to keep our promise to Newark students that we would not allow financial barriers to infringe upon their dreams of attending an HBCU.”
“As a true community bank, we are committed to do our part to support our neighborhoods and make them flourish. We are so proud to sponsor the annual HBCU Scholarship Ride and help Newark students realize their dreams of furthering their education,” said Thomas J. Kemly, president and CEO of Columbia Bank.
Photos Courtesy of Columbia Bank