The Iconic

Ben's Chili Bowl And Bison Honors Partner for "HBCU Week of Giving," To Support The Bison Honors HBCU Student Emergency Fund


In recognition of Black History Month, Ben’s Chili Bowl and The Bison Honors Organizing Committee are coming together to raise money for the Bison Honors HBCU Student Emergency Fund. The fund is set up to assist students in need with unexpected financial emergencies and hardships. Being able to successfully navigate these situations can determine a student’s ability to complete their education. The goal of the Bison Honors Student Emergency Fund is to positively affect the attrition rate for HBCU students by helping to alleviate some of the pressure brought on by unexpectant financial challenges. 

Ben’s Chili Bowl, a staple in the DC community, has a long history with Howard University. The restaurant was founded in 1958 by Ben Ali, a Trinidadian-Born immigrant of Indian descent who studied Dentistry at Howard University. Since that time, Ben’s has been a staunch and avid supporter of the university and its students, who were among the restaurant’s first team members and have been omnipresent ever since. Following Howard University’s model of, “Truth and Service,” since opening its doors in 1958, Ben’s Chili Bowl has always been right there to pick up the mantle and heed the call. 

Black History represents a perfect time to come together to invest in the future black history makers who will help to shape our collective history. To support this effort, together Ben’s Chili Bowl and The Bison Honors Organizing Committee will launch the “HBCU Week of Giving” campaign, which will begin on Monday, February 20, 2023, and culminate on Friday, February 24, 2023, with a percentage of all of Ben’s Chili Bowl proceeds from that day being donated to the HBCU Student Emergency Fund. 

This will be a full-filled day with festivities taking place at the Ben’s Chili Bowl Restaurant located at 1001 H Street, NE Washington, DC, featuring a live DJ, from 12 Noon – 2 PM, giveaways, and Bison Honors Representatives and Howard University Students on hand throughout.   

The surrounding community is encouraged to stop by, enjoy some delicious food from a DC Fav and support Howard University Students at the same time. The HBCU Student Emergency fund will give students the ability to apply for emergency aid up to $1,250. To help with issue to include:

  • Unexpected medical or dental expenses
  • Loss of income from a job
  • Natural disasters (such as hurricanes or earthquakes)
  • Death or serious illness of a family member
  • Unforeseen transportation expenses, such as car repair
  • Loss or theft of personal property, such as a laptop or musical instrument
  • Increased housing costs, such as unexpected move
  • Study travel abroad expenses directed related to education
  • Equipment or technology expenses required for courses
  • disability or special needs-related expenses
  • Unforeseen travel expenses, such as traveling home due to a family emergency


“Ben was a Howard alum, so we are proud to partner with the Bison Honors Organization to support the students of Howard University,” said Virgina Ali, matriarch and co-founder of the family-owned business. 

Bison Honors is excited and grateful to partner with Ben’s Chili Bowl to kick off the “HBCU Week of Giving.” We believe this is a powerful way to have real impact on students and what better way to end Black History Month than to partner with an iconic black-owned business to support HBCU students, who are the future of Black History, says Vetta Jimale Ridgeway, Chair of the Bison Honors Organizing Committee.

Ways To Support

Scan QR Code To Donate

Or Text: 4HBCU-SEF
To: (202)858-1233

About Bison Honors

The mission of Bison Honors is not only to celebrate and pay homage to noteworthy alumni, but also to provide a platform to bolster, support, and bring attention to Historically Black Colleges, and Universities, and students, in a way that is impactful and has meaning. Furthermore, any Bison can nominate a fellow deserving Bison in various professional categories to be recognized at the Bison Honors opening reception, which is a private invitation-only VIP Event. The 2022 Bison Honors Honorees included:


  • The Honorable Ras J. Baraka– Mayor of Newark, NJ
  • Joi Brown– Entertainment Industry Executive and Founder/CEO of Culture Creators
  • Dallas Jackson– TV and Film, Writer Director, and Producer
  • Kelli Richardson-Lawson– Founder/CEO The Joy Collective and The SonRise Project
  • Julian Petty– EVP & Head of Business and Legal Affairs, Warner Records
  • Roger Mitchell Jr. MD – Howard Professor and Board Chair Pathology
  • Bison Of The Year Award –  The Honorable Letitia James, Attorney General of New York


The Bison Honors Advisory Board includes: Rock Newman, host of The Rock Newman Show and owner of Gibraltar Promotions LLC, Andrea Holmes Thompkins, president/CEO of ACE Media Corp, Jasmine Young, director of Howard University Warner Music/Blavatnik Center for Music and Entertainment, Sydney Margetson, SVP of Publicity at Atlantic Records, Andy Anderson, president of Sales at American Urban Radio Network, Bryndan Moore, Member at Large at HUAA and host of The Black Futurist Podcast, Malcolm Ellis, head of Diverse Investment at Diageo, Charmion N. Kinder, SVP Social Impact at Values Partnerships and Former Obama Admin Public Affairs, Lita Rosario, Entertainment Attorney and Income Shareholder at Shulman Rogers, A. Haqq Islam, president/CEO of Contra Records, Kamilah Forbes, executive producer at the Apollo Theatre and director/producer of “Between The World & Me” HBO, A. Scott Bolden, thought leader on Race, Law and Politics and partner at Reed Smith Law, and Sabai Burnett, VP of Marketing at Warner Music Group.

For more info on Ben’s Chili Bowl


Vida Ali (310) 859-4730 or

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