Shaquille O’Neal, Anthony Hamilton, Questlove, Lynn Whitfield, Jonathan Slocumb, and Wendell Pierce Support HBCUs, Students at National Virtual Walk for Education®
Mashari Grissom UNCF Communications 202.854.0007 Mashari.Grissom@UNCF.org
Online fundraising event will provide fun interactive activities for the public during mandatory social distancing
How do you stay safe during a pandemic, raise money for a great cause and get some exercise in on the side? Through the UNCF National Virtual Walk for Education®, of course! The new digital fundraiser replaces the annual in-person walk events that many of the UNCF local offices conduct each spring, summer and fall, taking what’s typically been a market-by-market approach on to a fully nationwide event.
The revamped, highly anticipated UNCF National Virtual Walk for Education® aims to raise funds to support historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and the students they serve through the help of individuals, corporations and other group donors. While the country is practicing social distancing, the event will engage participants in activities to walk, run, cycle and dance safely—all while having fun and still raising money for UNCF. The Walk is set for 2 p.m. EDT/1 p.m. CDT/11 a.m. PDT on Saturday, Sept. 19.
The event will feature performances by Anthony Hamilton and Questlove with appearances by Shaquille O’Neal, Lynn Whitfield, Jonathan Slocumb, Wendell Pierce and others. A longtime UNCF supporter, Grammy® Award-winning R&B singer Anthony Hamilton has previously supported UNCF events such as the 2019 UNCF Mayor’s Masked Balls in Charlotte and Birmingham. Legendary NBA Star and sports analyst Shaquille O’Neal supported UNCF at the 2018 Atlanta Mayor’s Masked Ball. Actress and producer Lynn Whitfield recently graced the stage as host for the 2020 “A Mind Is…” National Gala in March and made an appearance at Atlanta’s UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball in 2018. And, comedian and actor Jonathan Slocumb served as emcee at the New Orleans UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball in 2019.
“For more than 76 years, UNCF has fueled HBCUs with vital resources to educate generations of African American and other minority students,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. “During an unprecedented time in our history compounded by COVID-19 and racial disparities, our students and institutions are faced with enormous challenges now more than ever. We are at risk of washing away a generation of talented and deserving African American and minority students. We need as many donations as possible right now because the students we help now will be our next generation of doctors, nurses, biologists, virologists, epidemiologists, teachers—the pandemic frontliners of the future. We invite everyone to join our new National Virtual Walk for Education to help ensure better futures for us all.”
A UNCF survey of more than 5,000 students across 17 HBCUs found that many are dealing with difficulties such as sick family members, trouble paying bills and general stress from the ongoing pandemic and recent protests against police brutality. Support is needed now more than ever as students and institutions are faced with challenges including COVID-19 and racial disparities.
Current national sponsors of the UNCF National Virtual Walk for Education® are at the National Doctorate Level, Colgate-Palmolive and Global Payment, Inc.; National Master’s Level, Arch Capital Group, LTD., Bayer, Essentia Water and Goldman Sachs.
Dr. Billy Hawkins, president of the oldest HBCU in Alabama, Talladega College, will deliver remarks on behalf of the UNCF-member institutions and presidents. Miss National UNCF Alia Scott, Wiley College; student Brionna McGhee, Xavier University; and alumna Velvet Gunn, Lane College, will also be speaking during the event.
The digital fundraiser will also honor local supporters, highlight UNCF HBCU presidents, engage in a celebrity fitness warm-up and dance along with a celebrity DJ—all to help empower HBCUs and their students.
To register for the event, find the local office that supports your area or make a donation, please go to UNCF.org/NationalWalk.
UNCF (the United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20% of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF