I attended the UNCF 1st Lowcountry Mayor’s Breakfast on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. That’s me and City of Charleston Mayor Joe P. Riley Jr.
It was a pleasure to see all three of our mayors- Mayor Joe Riley Jr., Mayor Keith Summey and Mayor William “Bill” Collins in one room together discussing the future of our schools and communities. The event was to bring awareness to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and to garner support from the Lowcountry. We all know a mind is a terrible thing to waste, so let’s invest in our youth today because they are our future dividend. I attended an Historically Black College/University (HBCU) but learned so much about the UNCF at the breakfast. Let me share with you a few tidbits about the UNCF.
Did you know?
UNCF is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization.
Since its founding in 1944, UNCF has raised more than $3.6 billion to help more than 400,000 students receive college degrees at UNCF-member institutions and with UNCF scholarships.
UNCF plays a critical role in enabling more than 60,000 students each year to attend college and get the education they need and that the nation needs them to have by:
•Awarding 10,000 scholarships and internships under 400 programs for students from low- and moderate-income families to attend more than 900 colleges and universities across the country;
•Providing financial support for its 37 member historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) for scholarships and capacity building;
•Advocating nationally for the importance of education and college readiness through its annual television program, a national public service announcement campaign, and commentary in national media;
•Advocating locally at events across the country such as Governor’s and Mayor’s luncheons, Walk for Education events and Mayor’s Masked Balls.
UNCF’s Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute issues studies that improve understanding of the issues that face minority education and points the way to solutions.
UNCF’s Institute for Capacity Building, a unique institutional improvement initiative, helps member colleges and universities become stronger and more self-sustaining in areas that can make the difference between success and struggle such as curriculum and faculty enhancement, student recruitment and retention and fundraising.
UNCF GETS RESULTS
•Member HBCUs educate more than 57,000 students each year at tuitions averaging 30 percent less than those charged by comparable institutions. Research shows that HBCUs out-perform many larger and better-funded schools at graduating low-income students—the students the country most needs to have college degrees.
•UNCF Scholarship Programs increase the likelihood that students will graduate. African American recipients of UNCF scholarships have a 70 percent six-year graduation rate, 10 percentage points higher than the national average, and 30 percent higher than the average for all African Americans. A $5,000 UNCF scholarship increases by seven percent the likelihood that its recipient will graduate from college. The low-income minority recipients of Gates Millennium Scholarships, a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, have average graduation rates of 90 percent.
•UNCF Advocacy has changed the way the nation thinks about education and race. When UNCF’s iconic motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”®, debuted more than 40 years ago, the idea that African Americans should go to college was not widely accepted. Today, the UNCF motto is almost universally known and almost every college has black students. The latest iteration of UNCF’s PSAs frames support for minority education as investment in better futures for students and all of us, and expands the iconic motto to, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in.”
There are 105 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the nation. In 1965, in Title III of the Higher Education Act of 1965, Congress officially defined an HBCU as an institution whose principal mission was and is the education of black Americans, was accredited and was established before 1964. The first HBCU, CHEYNEY University in Pennsylvania was founded in 1837. All HBCUs play a critical role in the American higher education system. For most of America’s history, African Americans who received a college education could only get it from an HBCU. Today, HBCUs remain one of the surest ways for an African American, or student of any race, to receive a quality education.
While the 105 HBCUs represent just three percent of the nation’s institutions of higher learning, they graduate nearly 20 percent of African Americans who earn undergraduate degrees. HBCUs, because of their unique sensibility to the special needs of young African American minds, remain the institutions that demonstrate the most effective ability to graduate African American students who are poised to be competitive in the corporate, research, academic, governmental and military arenas.
UNCF supports minority students at many schools that are not HBCUs. However, UNCF directly supports 37 private HBCUs. HBCUs award more than one in three of the degrees held by African Americans in natural sciences.
HBCUs are experts at educating African Americans: Allen University, Benedict College, Bennett College for Women, Bethune- Cookman University, Claflin University, Dilliard University, Edward Waters College, Fisk University, Florida Memorial University, Huston-Tillotson University, Interdenominational Theological Center, Jarvis Christian College, Johnson C Smith, Lane College, LeMoyne-Owen College, Livingstone College, Miles College, Morehouse College, Morris College, Oakwood University, Paine College, Philander Smith College, Rust College, Saint Augustine’s University, Shaw University, Spelman College, Stillman College, Talladega College, Texas College, Tougaloo College, Tuskegee University, Virginia Union University, Voorhees College, Wilberforce University, Wiley College and Xavier University of Louisiana
Remember a mind is a terrible thing to waste! For more information on the UNCF, check out their website at http://www.uncf.org
(From left to right, City of North Charleston Mayor R. Keith Summey, Dr. Michael Lomax, CEO UNCF, City of Summerville Mayor William “Bill” Collins, and City of Charleston Mayor Joe P. Riley Jr.)