Three Visionary Leaders Join Charter Members on the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Board


Nation’s largest scholarship provider taps leaders in education and equity to advance mission of supporting high-achieving students on their path to and through higher education


Lansdowne, VA  — The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation today announced three new additions to its Board of Directors. Nonprofit founder and executive Samantha Tweedy, Facebook executive Sherice Torres, and former U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell will join the six charter members who were selected by Mr. Cooke and have been with the Foundation since inception. As part of its ongoing commitment to helping more high-achieving students with financial need access higher education, the Foundation also announced today that its undergraduate award will increase from $40,000 to $55,000 annually, ensuring that Scholars can complete a bachelor’s degree from the college of their choice with little to no student loan debt.  Additionally, the Cooke Graduate Scholarship will double from $75,000 to $150,000 total.

“The past year has highlighted just how far we still have to go to make college attainable, even for the nation’s highest achieving students,” said Seppy Basili, Executive Director of the Cooke Foundation. “We’re thrilled to welcome three visionary leaders who bring experiences that will guide our continued efforts to identify and support students who will be the world changers and leaders of tomorrow.” 

The new members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors include: 

  • Samantha Tweedy, who was recently selected as the Black Economic Alliance Foundation’s inaugural President and formerly served as the Chief Partnerships & Impact Officer of the Robin Hood Foundation. A mission-driven leader and advocate for racial and economic justice, Ms. Tweedy’s hands-on educational experience includes founding and co-directing the Brooklyn-based Excellence Girls, an elementary school that won the National Blue Ribbon award in recognition of its efforts to close racial and economic achievement gaps and its unique “fierce female” curriculum.


  • Sherice Torres, who is Vice President of Marketing for Facebook Financial. Previously, Ms. Torres led a series of brand and product marketing efforts at Google including, kids & family products, and education – focused on efforts to close equity gaps in STEM and computer science education among girls, students from rural communities; and Black, Native American, and Latinx students. 


  • Ted Mitchell, who is the President of the American Council on Education, the coordinating body for America’s colleges and universities. Mr. Mitchell has a wide array of experience and accomplishments from across the higher education sector, having most recently served as U.S. Under Secretary of Education under President Obama, where he championed postsecondary education policy reforms and access to high-quality outcomes for all students. 


The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded over $230 million in scholarships to more than 2,930 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive educational advising and other support services. The Foundation has also provided $119.5 million in grants to organizations that serve such students.