Understanding Why HBCUs: A Fireside Chat with NBA All-Star and HBCU Supporter Chris Paul
Now, that’s Chris Paul on the court.
Off the court, Paul has been a committed supporter of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and has diligently worked to create opportunities for the student athletes at these institutions.
Paul sat with UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax for a “fireside chat” to discuss the role of professional athletes in supporting the growth and development of HBCUs and the students they serve.
“UNCF is thrilled to host this fireside chat with Chris Paul, who uplifts HBCUs through classes, scholarships and activism to highlight the historical and cultural importance of the institutions, current students and their alumni,” said Lodriguez V. Murray, senior vice president at UNCF, who arranged the event. “This is the beginning of a long-term partnership between UNCF and Chris Paul.”
When asked why he supports HBCUs, Paul said, “I’m always trying to support organizations that share common interests, common goals and they want to give back. I am grateful for UNCF for giving me the opportunity to use my voice to support HBCUs.”
Paul, an active philanthropist and entrepreneur, explained he has actively supported HBCUs for years. He was appointed to President Joe Biden’s advisory board on HBCUs. Paul executive produced both “Why Not Us: North Carolina Central Basketball” and “Why Not Us: FAMU Football” for ESPN+. Paul also partnered with the Harvard Business School to bring its entertainment, media and sports program to select HBCUs to develop a pipeline for students pursuing careers in those industries. He launched HBCU voting initiatives to encourage students to vote during past elections and partnered with Sour Patch Kids and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to create The Mischief for Change Scholarship, a college scholarship fund with a $1 million commitment over the next five years for students attending HBCUs. And, to top it off, Paul is currently working towards a degree at Winston-Salem State University, where both of his parents attended, and his brother played basketball at Hampton University.
“Our new generation of donors to UNCF are led by people who are in the public spotlight, like athletes who believe that they have a responsibility and an opportunity to help. And that’s why we love this man. He’s doing such great things to tell our story and to get more support for us. And that’s why we need people like Chris Paul,” said Lomax.
Legends like Chris Paul understand how UNCF and HBCUs make difference for their students and the community. His investment in HBCUs will certainly help ensure better futures for all of us.