NEW YORK — On Thursday night, Jay-Z hosted a carnival at the Hudson River Park pier for his Shawn Carter Foundation. But it wasn’t all Ferris wheels and funnel cakes — unfortunately Momofuku doesn’t make those. The event was called Making the Ordinary Extraordinary, and it sought to raise funds for college scholarships.
MTV News caught up with Mr. Carter at the event, where he said the evening was about having fun while raising money for a good cause. Jay said two of the worst things in life are a waste of talent and a person who applies him- or herself but is unable to advance due to financial hardship. He hoped this foundation would help ease such burdens and assist people in recognizing their potential.
“Just providing opportunity and seeing what people do with that opportunity. If you want to go further and you want to further your education, just giving someone that extra little push [so] that maybe you’ll turn out to be someone special,” Jay said.
Jay and his mother, Gloria Carter, started the foundation in 2002 to help those facing socioeconomic difficulties further their education at institutions of higher learning. The foundation started with one student earning a full ride through college and grew to offer 50 scholarships to students in 50 different states annually from 2003 to 2005. More than 750 students have been awarded scholarships totaling in excess of $1.1 million, and nearly 500 kids have taken part in the foundation’s college tours — some even rode the bus with Jay’s mom.
“My mom has been running this for a number of years,” said Jay. “My mom gets on the bus and takes the kids and takes them to their orientations and she’s been riding around the college. It’s a real grassroots thing that she’s been doing on her own, and I’m just really trying to help her expand it so we can help more people. It started out as a Brooklyn thing, and then it started as a New York thing, and now hopefully we can take it to a worldwide thing.”