Volunteers Leading the way to Champion UNCF and HBCU Missions
It’s that spirit of volunteerism that has helped fuel the success of UNCF since its founding in 1944. UNCF deeply appreciates the thousands of volunteers who support its mission to build a robust and nationally recognized pipeline of underrepresented students who, because of UNCF support, become highly qualified college graduates.
Inspirational volunteers like the ones featured here truly make a difference. Thank you for your continued support of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and their students. You make better futures for our nation possible. Benny and Nikki Agosto believe in giving back and supporting education and they encourage others to do so. “Nikki and I are honored to be part of UNCF. We believe in giving back and in education. We are definitely blessed,” said Benny Agosto, Jr., after presenting a $100,000 donation to support UNCF. “This gift gives us the opportunity to support the students, as well as the efforts of UNCF. We encourage others to do the same.”
Agosto joined the UNCF Houston Leadership Council in 2014 and was chair of its gala in Fiscal Year 2022. He is a partner in Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner law firm in Houston. He also served as president of the Houston Bar Association, 2019-2020; and is the founder and president of the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas Foundation.
UNCF Upstate (SC) Leadership Council Chair Carlos Phillips, president and CEO, Greenville Chamber, is an avid volunteer and financial supporter of UNCF-member institutions and other HBCUs. For the past five years, he has been a committed advocate for advancing the work of UNCF and its member schools. He has doubled the amount of money raised in the Upstate area and has helped to increase awareness about UNCF, its member schools and their students. Through his relationships with the business community, he has challenged businesses to engage with our HBCUs and their students to increase their talent pool and to help achieve their diversity, equity and inclusion goals.
Terry Williams had served on the UNCF Houston Leadership Council for nearly 20 years before recently retiring. As a vice president at H-E-B in Houston, TX, Williams has been instrumental in securing the company’s support for all major UNCF events, including the National Gala, Walk for Education and numerous luncheons, and helped create a scholarship program. As past chair of the Houston Leadership Council, Williams was an advocate for his hometown area of Beaumont/Port Arthur and insisted that “we cast a wider net” to bring in friends and donors from secondary markets. Under his leadership, the Beaumont/Port Arthur community hosted several “UNCF An Evening of Stars”® events where people came together to make personal gifts to UNCF. Through his many years of volunteerism, Williams has helped raise more than $900,000 for the local Houston UNCF office.
Newspaper publisher Francis Page, Jr., has been on the UNCF Houston Leadership Council for 20 years. He stepped into his father’s seat and retired in December 2022 from the council. Paige is a staple in the community when it comes to sharing the news and happenings. As the publisher of the local newspaper, Paige is always helping to spread the word about what UNCF is doing and how we impact students and HBCUs. He helped get the Houston Astros support during FY 2022. By leveraging his connections and ties to the city, Paige has opened doors to business owners and managers and elected officials who have been instrumental in advancing UNCF’s mission.
Bryce Kennard, manager of government affairs at Comcast and a former UNCF Houston Leadership Council Chair, has been very influential in helping to bring in donations from supporters and friends since joining the council in 2014. He is a Morehouse College graduate. Through his company, Kennard has approved sponsorships of the UNCF National Virtual Walk for Education, the Houston “A Mind Is…®” Gala and UNCF events for the past few years. As a young professional and a product of UNCF, Kennard is committed to serving UNCF by being an influencer and connector. Whenever called on, Kennard offers solutions, ideas and feedback to help reach raise unrestricted funds. Through the years, he has also helped secure both $100,000 in cash and in-kind support in the form of PSAs from Comcast.
UNCF New Orleans volunteer Donell Williams, contractor safety management lead for Shell’s Gulf of Mexico Operations and an MBA graduate, has worked for Shell for 20 years in various roles both locally and internationally. He has served as the Shell team captain for the New Orleans UNCF Walk for Education for more than six years. His team has raised more than $140,000 over those years and maintains team rosters of at least 100 members each year. He has supported UNCF by bringing the organization’s story to life and delivering a clear vision of why the organization matters. Williams is a strong advocate for higher education with a personal interest in donating time to buoy organizations like UNCF.