If Jill Scott isn’t recording or touring for a Grammy-award winning album, chances are the soulful songstress is lending her voice to Blues Babe Foundation, the philanthropic organization she founded in 2002. Blues Babe’s initiatives empower students from underprivileged neighborhoods around Philadelphia to continue their education. Among these projects: bringing new computers into North Philadelphia’s Pierce Elementary School, where a young Scott got her start.

In addition to introducing grade schoolers to the digital world, Blues Babe keeps students in a creative environment; in partnership with VH1, Blues Babe is committing to keeping music programs in all Philadelphia schools. And in the summers, Camp Jill Scott takes students out of their urban surroundings to introduce them to the peace and nature.

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Jill Scott is making history … broadening the positive experiences and possibilities of Philly-area youth. In addition to programs that enrich their day-to-day lives, Blues Babe’s keystone initiative, a college scholarship program, helps these students claim a greater future. Scott understands the financial pressures of working your own way through college – she worked two jobs as an undergraduate, and she often needed help buying a book or a bus pass. While Blues Babe ensures financial assistance and mentorship for college-accepted high schoolers, Scott insists that they must also help themselves — “They need to have their own work ethic and hustle in their heart.”

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What’s next for Jill?

Scott’s currently recording a fourth studio album, The Light of the Sun, which explores her experiences from recent years, which have brought the singer her first son, born June 2009, and silver-screen success, including a role in Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too?

In her own words …

“It’s an opportunity to see outside the corners of your block. We can push education but without the desire to want to do more, see more and experience more it’s not going to happen,” Scott told Essence in December. “Not everybody is dedicated to school. But when you give people a chance to go outside of their neighborhood for a week or summer, it gives them a chance to be around peace.”

A little-known fact …

More than 70 percent of disadvantaged American college students won’t finish their degree, including students of color, first-generation and low-income students. Across all U.S. populations, the number is closer to 40 percent.