Embracing Unity with JCPenney’s Second Annual Young, Gifted and Black Design Challenge

As part of JCPenney’s continued commitment to identify and develop diverse talent, JCPenney invites students at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to submit designs for its second annual Young, Gifted & Black Design Challenge.

The Challenge

The Young, Gifted and Black (YGB) Design Challenge is designed to offer HBCU students the opportunity to have their design celebrated and recognized on a national scale. Winners will also participate in dedicated mentorship sessions and receive a cash prize.

Our theme for this year’s YGB Design Challenge is ‘Unity.’ As the country continues to grapple with complex societal issues, JCPenney believes establishing trust, building bridges, and cultivating authentic allyship across all communities underpin our ability to find common ground and achieve progress.

Successful designs will embody a positive outlook for the future, rooted in joy and harmony, that will help chart a path forward towards Unity.


All participants must be enrolled in an HBCU college at the date of submission

Students will create their design ideas in the form of a digital story board and submit to YoungGiftedBlack@jcp.onmicrosoft.com by June 10, 2022.

Winners will be notified by June 19, 2022.

For detailed submission guidelines, please visit our Young, Gifted and Black Design Challenge site.

Last Year’s Winner:

In 2021, Florida A&M student Kah’Milah Ledgester’s won the hearts of many with her captivating design, ‘Just Breathe.’ Her work, which embodied our theme of ‘Health and Wellness,’ was showcased in JCPenney stores across the country in honor of Black History Month and featured on a T-shirt sold in numerous locations.

Our YGB Design Challenge is part of a broader effort to engage our community in a positive way and to bring key cultural moments to life. Hope & Wonder™, one of JCPenney’s private label brands, offers a limited-edition assortment around Black History Month, PRIDE, Juneteenth, and Hispanic Heritage Month. We also donate up to $100,000 in proceeds from the collection to related nonprofits that are selected by our very own associates. Hope & Wonder is a multi-faceted campaign that empowers our associates and leverages JCPenney’s national platform to raise awareness, celebrate diversity and uplift our communities.

You can read more about Ledgester’s story and our ongoing Hope & Wonder™ initiatives on our JCPenney Blog here.

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