She can still envision the older woman standing in her kitchen in front of a bowl of White Lily flour, sifter and a container of Crisco.
“My grandmother was very loving and nurturing and caring, and that’s how she showed her love — through her food,” Cunningham said.
The scholarships will be awarded on July 17 at the “I Matter” Teen Empowerment Conference.
Cunningham, who attended A&T with Allen, asked her about starting a scholarship with the nonprofit in honor of Miss Janie, the one who pushed her, the one who helped make her the first in the family to graduate from college.
Cunningham, who graduated with a degree in journalism and mass communications, was working on starting her own endowment. A friend suggested it might be more effective to connect with an existing nonprofit with a mission she supported.
“I believed in what she was doing to work with young girls to build up self esteem, give them life resources and help them,” Cunningham said of Allen.
Cunningham worked with Allen to come up with the criteria for the scholarship. But she isn’t planning to simply whittle applications down by those with the highest grades. An essay is part of the process.
“I definitely think she would want me to take a holistic view of the person,” Cunningham said of her grandmother.