Four months after the crowd crush tragedy at his Astroworld festival in Houston, Travis Scott has announced a new initiative called Project HEAL through his Cactus Jack Foundation, which will distribute $5million in community-based efforts.
According to a description, Project HEAL is a “multi-tier initiative dedicated to addressing challenges facing today’s youth, especially those from marginalized and at-risk communities. Initiatives that will be funded through the project include academic scholarships, mental health resources, a creative design centre and “tech-driven solutions for event safety”.
“Over the past few months I’ve been taking the time and space to grieve, reflect and do my part to heal my community,” Scott said when announcing the project on Instagram earlier today (March 9). “Most importantly, I want to use my resources and platform moving forward towards actionable change. This will be a lifelong journey for me and my family.”
“While it’s easy for corporations and institutions to stay in the shadows, I feel as a leader in my community, I need to step up in times of need. My team and I created Project HEAL to take much needed action towards supporting real solutions that make all events the safest spaces they can possibly be.
“I will always honor the victims of the Astroworld tragedy who remain in my heart forever. Giving back and creating opportunities for the youth is something I’ve always done and will continue to do as long as I have the chance.”
Four tiers of funding have been announced today, one of which is a donation to the US Conference of Mayors Task Force on Event Safety to help address safety issues for large-scale live events. Back in December, it was reported that Scott was working with the USCM on a plan to put new safety protocols in place.
Scott has also earmarked a tech-driven approach. A working group of of figures from the tech sector along with government, emergency response, event management, health and public safety will collaborate on addressing crowd safety at large events, culminating in a “comprehensive report of recommendations”.
Ten people were killed and hundreds more injured as a result of a crowd surge incident that took place during Scott’s headline set at his Astroworld festival in November of last year. The following month, the cause of death for all ten victims was ruled as accidental compressive asphyxiation.
Other initiatives that will be funded through Project HEAL include $1million towards scholarships for students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Through his Waymon Webster Scholarship Fund, $10,000 scholarships will be granted to seniors with a GPA of 3.5 or higher facing financial adversity in their second semester senior year.
The project will also fund mental health resources, including digital counselling, telephone hotlines and free programs with licensed professional counsellors and social workers. This program will be led by Dr. Jane Beal, a Houston-based behavioral health expert who said the effort would “help empower young people to overcome mental health issues” in a statement.
Additionally, Scott will fund a seven-figure expansion to the CACT.US Youth Design Center at TXRX Labs in Houston. The space, according to a press release, is a “nonprofit makerspace for young artists, designers, tech innovators, including free studio space, work space, tool spaces, job and apprenticeship training, youth education and events”.
In January, a website was set up by the FBI in tandem with the Houston Police Department, asking people that attended the festival to submit photos and videos taken from the event.
Last month, it was reported that hundreds of lawsuits against Scott and Live Nation related to the Astroworld tragedy would move forward as one case, combining over 380 separate filings that seek to represent nearly 2,800 alleged victims.
Last December, Scott gave his first interview since the Astroworld tragedy, telling Charlamage Tha God he had a “responsibility to figure out what happened” during the incident. Scott’s response was criticised by family members of some of the victims of the tragedy, saying the rapper should have been more proactive about stopping the set.