BALTIMORE — On the field Super Bowl champion James Ihedigbo is fierce against his competitors and works diligently to help his team defeat NFL opponents. Off the field, he applies that same energy to helping African scholars in need of financial assistance to complete their college education.
Ihedigbo, safety for the Baltimore Ravens, is on a mission to educate future African leaders through his charitable nonprofit, HOPE Africa (Helping Our People Excel). Ihedigbo serves as president and is also founder of the organization. Inspired by the story of his parents, Nigerian immigrants who through determination and hard work completed advanced degrees while raising a young family, he is the driving force behind HOPE Africa which provides first generation African college students with academic scholarships.
“The scholars are very impressive, we simply assist them with necessary resources to reach their goals and ensure that they do not have worries such as financial strain”, Ihedigbo said of the HOPE Africa scholars. Since 2011, there have been 12 HOPE Africa scholars who have been given financial assistance through the scholarship fund.
Ihedigbo says that the HOPE Africa foundation is an extension of his parent’s legacy and its mission lends to the story of how his parents successfully came to the United States from Umuahia, Nigeria and completed advanced degrees. “I encourage all students to work hard toward their goals and not allow circumstances to define them,” Ihedigbo said. Ihedigbo and the HOPE Africa board of directors have plans to grow the organization to benefit more students and partner with additional universities.
On Monday, December 9, 2013, Ihedigbo will host the First Annual Celebrity Cruise and Casino Charity Night to benefit HOPE Africa. The festivities commence aboard the Spirit of Baltimore Cruise ship. All of the proceeds will go directly to the HOPE Africa scholarship fund. Ihedigbo invites the public to take part in this charitable event. Festivities include opportunities to meet Ravens team members and local celebrities, a buffet style dinner, prizes and a night full of fun for a great cause.
For more information and to purchase tickets, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.hopeafricausa.org.