ZSR Honors the Life and Legacy of Darryl Hunt Trustees establish a fund to assist students with a criminal conviction in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County


The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation has established a scholarship fund at The Winston-Salem Foundation, in the amount of $100,000, to honor the life and legacy of Darryl Eugene Hunt.

Beginning in 2018, the Darryl Hunt Memorial Scholarship will provide scholarships to individuals in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County who have been convicted of a criminal offense, have served a jail or prison sentence, and are seeking higher education. Currently, North Carolina is one of two states that still tries 16 and 17-year-olds as adults for both misdemeanors and felony convictions. A conviction on a young adult’s record can often lead to the loss of eligibility for federal financial aid, creating barriers to attaining a higher degree.

Darryl Hunt was wrongfully convicted of rape and murder in 1984, at the age of 19. While Hunt maintained his innocence, he would spend nearly two decades of his life in prison before he was exonerated. After his exoneration, he dedicated his life to speaking out against injustice and as a champion for criminal justice reform, the innocence movement and wrongful conviction. Hunt was instrumental in helping those re-entering society from incarceration to rebuild their lives.

“Mr. Hunt’s influence was crucial to making significant reforms within North Carolina’s criminal justice system and beyond,” said Maurice “Mo” Green, executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. “Establishing this scholarship fund is one way in which the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation is hoping to honor Mr. Hunt’s life and his work and to ensure that his memory lives on in this community. These scholarships are intended to give all students, regardless of their background, an opportunity to attain higher education, which is critical to future success.”

The award is a $1,000 scholarship that is renewable for up to three additional consecutive years. Scholarships will be applied to the cost of tuition and fees for students attending an accredited vocational/technical school, community college, or college/university in pursuit of a certificate, diploma or degree.

Eligible applicants must be a Forsyth County resident; have a criminal conviction(s) where he or she has served a jail or prison sentence; and demonstrate financial need. Preference will be given to African-American students.

Beginning January 1, 2018, applications will be available at www.wsfoundation.org/students.

Donations to the fund will be accepted through the Winston-Salem Foundation's website at https://www.wsfoundation.org/darrylhuntmemorialscholarship or checks can be made payable to the Winston-Salem Foundation with "Darryl Hunt Scholarship" on the memo line.