Just as young Black leaders deserve their flowers, financial support is incredibly beneficial to their journey. Following this sentiment, McDonald’s USA and Keke Palmer recently teamed up to help those impacting the community to continue doing just that.

"Future 22" Change Leaders

Under its initiative Black & Positively Golden, the company awarded $10,000 grants to its “Future 22” leaders — totaling $220,000 — according to a press release. Palmer was a part of sharing the announcement during the ESSENCE Festival of Culture.

“It’s an honor to join McDonald’s to recognize and celebrate these awesome leaders, while also supporting their work and mission,” Palmer said, per the press release. “They are creating bright futures for themselves and the next generation – and, really, all of us – and the excitement on their faces during the McDonald’s surprise gave me joy.”

As previously reported by AfroTech, Palmer has championed leaders in the Black community on her own front. Earlier this year, the actress and entrepreneur partnered with Amazon to highlight and support Black women business owners.

Making The World A Better Place

To ensure that the leaders were thoroughly celebrated for their work to change the world, McDonald’s chose to in real life instead of virtually.

Per the press release, the group of awardees includes “a STEM educator who is leveling the playing field for Black and brown children in computer science to a financial literacy champion who is bridging the financial gap in inner cities.”

“This year’s Essence Fest theme was Black Joy, and we couldn’t wait to celebrate all 22 leaders and bring them to New Orleans, in honor of their accomplishments,” said McDonald’s Senior Director of Cultural Engagement, Elizabeth Campbell. “We certainly could’ve surprised them virtually but making them a part of our Essence Fest moment meant unlocking the additional community of supporters who are McDonald’s Owner/Operators and the Essence Fest family, to further celebrate them and demonstrate our belief in their work. It was more special than imagined, representing our commitment to feeding and fostering the communities we serve.”