Thurgood Marshall College Fund Leads HBCU Community in Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Washington, DC, Sept. 10, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) names M. Scott Lilly as President of its new Opportunity Funding Corporation (OFC) division, TMCF President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. announced today. Acquired through a merger with the Opportunity Funding Corporation in August, TMCF will lead the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) community in innovation and entrepreneurship with the launch of this new division.

Lilly has been with TMCF since 2010 as Vice President of its talent acquisition and campus relations efforts. In his new role as OFC's President, he will be responsible for the overall direction of OFC and the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program (IEP). This program is a comprehensive entrepreneurship program that is particularly relevant in preparing HBCU students to become entrepreneurs and ultimately job creators. The program will stimulate student interest in entrepreneurship and give students the experience of buildinging business ventures from conception to launch. Prior to joining TMCF, Lilly was the Director of Business Planning and Operations for IAC's programming business unit, RushmoreDrive.com, serving the online needs of this country's Black community.

"Scott is the perfect choice to lead this new division of TMCF," said Taylor. "I expect he will bring the same level of enthusiasm, strategy, and success he brought to our talent acquisition and campus relations division. Scott's combined corporate and non-profit experience will be a huge asset to growing this vital program and opening the doors for the next generation of entrepreneurs for the 21st century."

Joining Lilly on this new mission, TMCF has garnered the talent of recently retired MillerCoors executive Larry Waters. Waters comes to TMCF after driving the growth and evolution of the award-winning MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneurs Series (MUES) Business Plan competition, a valuable resource for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, create jobs and make a powerful impact in their communities. Since its inception, the MUES business plan competition has granted more than $1.9 million dollars to small businesses throughout the country.

"Waters' nearly three decades of Fortune 500 leadership roles gives TMCF a unique opportunity to bring proven senior executive level experience to the table as we elevate the OFC Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program to a level that better meets the needs of today's small business owners," said Taylor.

Waters will manage the programming of the OFC Venture Challenge, previously directed by Dr. Mohammad Bhuiyan. The Venture Challenge is a major component of the IEP and is designed to give students practical experience in conceiving business ideas, writing business plans, and presenting those plans to a panel of judges. Each year, students at participating schools form teams to conceive a business, write a business plan and present the plan, in competition with each other, to industry experts. The top team is then invited to participate in the International Business Plan Competition held at the University of Texas, Austin.

"Leading the HBCU community in building new partnerships has always been our approach to innovative options," commented Taylor. "Dr. Bhuiyan, who served as the director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program, has been instrumental to its past success and growth; and, we thank him for his invaluable service to the program."

With OFC becoming a division of TMCF, students at all HBCUs (public and private) will now have access to this new opportunity. As part of TMCF's new strategy, the organization has been actively seeking new partnerships and initiatives to extend its depth and breadth in the higher education arena.

"Our acquisition of OFC was a first for us, but it certainly will not be the last organization we pursue as we strive to grow TMCF," said Jim Clifton, CEO of GALLUP and Chairman of the TMCF Board of Directors. "As we take on this new entrepreneurial platform, I am confident Scott and Larry will deliver an exceptional program and introduce TMCF to a new audience we have been looking to reach for some time now."

"I look forward to working with Larry as we work to advance TMCF's mission through OFC's programs and provide additional options for students attending the nation's HBCUs," said Lilly. "Student entrepreneurship is on the rise and becoming more important for our economy's growth. We want to ensure some of the best and newest entrepreneurs are coming out of HBCUs."

About the Thurgood Marshall College Fund

Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is named for the U.S. Supreme Court's first African-American Justice. Established in 1987, TMCF supports and represents nearly 300,000 students attending its 47 member-schools that include public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), medical schools and law schools. TMCF helps students with a clear intention and the motivation to succeed and acquire a high-quality college education at an affordable cost. TMCF also efficiently connects high performing, world-ready students with top tier employment opportunities --access that students or employers might not have on their own. Through its scholarships and programs, TMCF plays a key role in preparing the leaders of tomorrow.

TMCF is a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization and for more information about TMCF and its initiatives, visit www.ThurgoodMarshallCollegeFund.org.

CONTACT: Tangie Newborn, PR Consultant tangie@immensesolutions.com 301-526-9017 Source:Thurgood Marshall College Fund