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Gulf Coast HBCUs To Benefit From Essence Fest Beginning in New Orleans

More than a dozen major sponsors of the Essence Music Festival are giving back to New Orleans to help in rebuilding efforts almost two years after Hurricane Katrina swamped 80 percent of the city.

McDonald’s has pledged to build a media resource center at Martin Luther King Charter School in the devastated Lower 9th Ward. The company has already contributed $140,000 to four other city schools.

Coca-Cola Co., which has been a sponsor since the festival’s inception in 1995, has pledged $50,000 in grants to Dillard University, Xavier University, Grambling State University and Southern University in New Orleans.

“We were expecting the gift, but we weren’t expecting the amount,” said SUNO Chancellor Victor Ukpolo. He said the money will financially help students affected by Hurricane Katrina. “It’s a great shot in the arm in our quest to recover.”

Other major sponsors include Chevrolet, Verizon, the U.S. Army, L’Oreal Paris, Sony Corp., Budweiser, HBO, Wal-Mart and Southwest Airlines.

–Associated Press

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