United Negro College Fund
|Founded||April 25, 1944|
|Founder(s)||Frederick D. Patterson|
|Key people||Michael Lomax (President)|
|Motto||A mind is a terrible thing to waste|
|African American topics|
The United Negro College Fund, or UNCF, is an American philanthropic organization that funds scholarships for black students and general scholarship funds for 39 private historically black colleges and universities. The UNCF was incorporated on April 25, 1944 by Frederick D. Patterson (then president of what is now Tuskegee University), Mary McLeod Bethune, and others. The UNCF is headquartered at 1805 7th Street, NW in Washington, DC  In 2005, the UNCF supported approximately 65,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities with approximately $113 million in grants and scholarships. About 60% of these students are the first in their families to attend college, and 62% have annual family incomes of less than $25,000. UNCF also administers over 450 named scholarships. This is in contrast with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund that raises money for the public historically black colleges and universities.
Though set up to address funding inequities in education resources for African Americans, the UNCF-administered scholarships are open to all ethnicities; the great majority of recipients are still African-American. It provides scholarships to students attending its member colleges as well as to those going elsewhere.
Graduates of UNCF scholarships have included many blacks in the fields of business, politics, health care and the arts. Some prominent UNCF alumni include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and leader in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s; Alexis Herman, former U.S. Secretary of Labor; noted movie director Spike Lee; actor Samuel L. Jackson; General Chappie James, the U.S. Air Force’s first black four-star general; and Dr. David Satcher, a former U.S. Surgeon General and director of the Centers for Disease Control.
Fundraising and Lou Rawls Parade of Stars
The UNCF has received charitable donations for its scholarship programs. One of the more high profile donations made was by former U.S. President John F. Kennedy who donated the money from the Pulitzer Prize for his book Profiles in Courage to the Fund. The largest ever single donation was made in 1990 by Walter Annenberg who donated $50 million to the fund.
Beginning in 1980, singer Lou Rawls began the "Lou Rawls Parade of Stars" telethon to benefit the UNCF. The annual event, now known as "An Evening of Stars", consists of stories of successful African-American students who have graduated or benefited from one of the many historically black colleges and universities and who received support from the UNCF. The telethon featured comedy and musical performances from various artists in support of the UNCF's and Rawls' efforts. The event has raised over $200 million in 27 shows for the fund through 2006.
In January 2004, Rawls was honored by the United Negro College Fund for his more than 25 years of charity work with the organization. Instead of Rawls' hosting and performing, he was given the seat of honor and celebrated by his performing colleagues, including Stevie Wonder, The O'Jays, Gerald Levert, Ashanti, and several others. Before his death in January 2006, Rawls' last performance was a taping for the 2006 telethon that honored Wonder, months before entering the hospital after being diagnosed with cancer earlier in the year.
In addition to the telethon there are a number of other fundraising activities, including the "Walk for Education" held annually in Los Angeles, California, which includes a five kilometer walk/run. In Houston, Texas, the Cypresswood Golf Club hosts an annual golf tournament in April.
The UNCF motto
In 1972, the UNCF adopted as its motto the maxim "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." This maxim has become one of the most widely recognized slogans in advertising history. The motto, which has been used in numerous award-winning UNCF ad campaigns, was created by Forest Long, of the advertising agency Young & Rubicam, in partnership with the Ad Council.
A lesser-known slogan the UNCF also uses, in reference to its intended beneficiaries, points out about them, "[They're] not asking for a handout, just a hand."
UNCF Member Institutions
- Miles College, Birmingham
- Oakwood University, Huntsville
- Talladega College, Talladega
- Stillman College, Tuscaloosa
- Tuskegee University, Tuskegee
- Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach
- Edward Waters College, Jacksonville
- Florida Memorial University, Miami Gardens
- Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta
- Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta
- Morehouse College, Atlanta
- Spelman College, Atlanta
- Paine College, Augusta
- Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte
- Bennett College, Greensboro
- Saint Augustine's College, Raleigh
- Shaw University, Raleigh
- Livingstone College, Salisbury
- Allen University, Columbia
- Benedict College, Columbia
- Voorhees College, Denmark
- Claflin University, Orangeburg
- Morris College, Sumter
- Huston-Tillotson University, Austin
- Jarvis Christian College, Hawkins
- Wiley College, Marshall
- Texas College, Tyler
- "Contact Us." United Negro College Fund. Accessed October 8, 2013.
- "Uncf Faq". Uncf.org. 2008-11-07. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
- "UNCF". UNCF. 2008-11-07. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
- B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library[dead link]
- "UNCF Events". UNCF. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
- [dead link]
- See the UNCF website.
- Gasman, Marybeth (2007). Envisioning Black Colleges: A History of the United Negro College Fund (page 192). Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.