UNCF Awards Grant to Wiley University with Support from NFL “Inspire Change”
Funding will expand education offerings to
incarcerated citizens enrolled in the Second Chance Pell Program
Through its collaboration with the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative, UNCF has awarded a grant to UNCF-member Wiley University in Marshall, TX, to expand its reach to include incarcerated students enrolled in the Second Chance Pell Program (SCP).
The grant will help the institution’s transition to a more robust learning management system, provide new tablets and textbooks and cover other technical expenses. The SCP creates partnerships between colleges and universities and the prison system to enable incarcerated students access to Pell Grant funds for education. Wiley has worked successfully with three correctional facilities: David Wade Correctional Center, Raymond Laborde Correctional Center and Riverbend Detention Center. The grant intends to help offset the financial strain that historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) may experience while implementing necessary technology upgrades. UNCF will continue to be a resource for Wiley University and other UNCF-member schools alike to support SCP and social justice efforts.
“If not for this program, I would still be wondering what was next when I got out,” said Courtney Moses, an SCP alumnus who is already considering graduate school opportunities.
Post-secondary education in prison has been shown to contribute to successful reentry for incarcerated individuals, thereby reducing the recidivism rates among Black and Brown communities.
“Thank you to NFL Inspire Change for this generous gift and believing that once formerly incarcerated men and women complete their sentence, a college degree greatly increases their chances of gaining employment and live better lives,” said UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael Lomax. “The work we do in behalf of HBCUs and our students is vital work and, at its core, is inextricably intertwined with the ongoing Black struggle for our full citizenship rights, privileges and protections. Educational opportunity is a human right, and every person of color in the United States should know HBCUs are their champions and allies and will continue to be there helping to guide them toward better futures.”
“UNCF has worked to reduce barriers to opportunity in the realm of education for decades,” said Anna Isaacson, NFL senior vice president of social responsibility. “We are proud to work with them in advancing social justice and equality in communities of color across the country and look forward to continued collaboration.”
The NFL renewed UNCF’s Inspire Change grant in January 2020 to continue support of the organization’s efforts to alleviate the impact of mass incarceration on individuals and communities through the prism of higher education with focus on UNCF’s 37 member-institutions and other HBCUs. UNCF has also used funding to support programs focused on policy reform and social justice incubators.
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UNCF (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, 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 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “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.
About NFL Inspire Change
Inspire Change showcases the collaborative efforts of NFL players, owners and the league to create positive change in communities across the country and ensure that access to opportunity is a reality for all. Through work with organizations including the Players Coalition, NFL teams and the league office, the NFL continues to support programs and initiatives that reduce barriers to opportunity with a focus on three priority areas: education and economic advancement; police and community relations; criminal justice reform. Join the conversation using #InspireChange.