UNCF Celebrates 80 Years of Empowering Students and Transforming Lives

Media Contact

Roy Betts UNCF Communications 240.703.3384 roy.betts@uncf.org

More than 500,000 students helped to realize their college dreams

UNCF (United Negro College Fund) today celebrates its 80th anniversary as the nation’s leading advocate for education equity and economic mobility.

In recognition of today’s historic moment in time, UNCF has been invited to ring today’s closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange at 4:00 p.m. ET. The closing bell can be viewed here and on the stock exchange’s social channels.

UNCF New York Scholar Kiara Nicole Brown, a graduate of Howard University, Class of 2023, will serve as the bell ringer.

In the Windy City, the no. 1 R&B radio station in Chicago is hosting a 24-hour radio-thon to salute UNCF’s 80th anniversary.

For 24 hours beginning at 5:00 a.m. CT the FM Omni-Channel Radio Station is producing the first UNCF-OMNI Radio-Thon dedicating the day’s broadcast to UNCF. Reminiscent of Lou Rawl’s “An Evening of Stars,” a list of stars including Howard Hewitt, Evelyn “Champagne” King and Ronald Isley will be calling in non-stop to the station’s broadcast to encourage the worldwide audience to donate to UNCF. To listen to the programming throughout the day, click here.

Since its founding in 1944, UNCF has become the nation’s largest private provider of scholarships and other forms of financial assistance for African American and other underrepresented students to achieve access to higher education.

Founded by Dr. Frederick D. Patterson, former president of Tuskegee Institute (today Tuskegee University) along with Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, educator, civil and human rights leader and others, UNCF has helped more than 500,000 students to go to and through college.

Throughout its eight-decade history, UNCF has played a pivotal role in helping thousands of students achieve their dreams of obtaining a college degree. By providing scholarships, internships and fellowships, UNCF has empowered students to overcome financial barriers and pursue their educational aspirations. This support has not only transformed individual lives but has also had a profound impact on communities and society as a whole.

UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax expressed his gratitude and optimism on this momentous occasion: “As we mark UNCF’s 80th anniversary, we reflect on the incredible progress we have made through the generous support of individual donors, corporate partners and philanthropists to advance the educational opportunities for African American students and other underrepresented students. We are proud of the generations of scholars who have benefited from UNCF’s programs and are now leaders in their respective fields. As we look to the future, we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that every student has the opportunity to succeed.”

UNCF’s impact extends far beyond the classroom. The organization has been at the forefront of advocating for policies that promote educational equity, college affordability, K-12 programs promoting college readiness and workforce development. Through partnerships with corporations, foundations and individuals, UNCF has been able to leverage resources and create opportunities for African American students to thrive in an ever-changing global economy.

As UNCF celebrates 80 years of empowering students and transforming lives, it reaffirms its mission to build a robust pipeline of diverse, talented and well-prepared graduates who contribute to the economic and social fabric of our nation. UNCF remains committed to closing the educational attainment gap and ensuring that all students have access to quality education, regardless of their socioeconomic background.

Join UNCF in celebrating this milestone and supporting its mission to create a more equitable and inclusive society. Together, we can make a difference and empower the next generation of leaders.

To learn more about UNCF and how to donate to its mission, visit UNCF.org.


About UNCF

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, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. While totaling only 3% of all colleges and universities, UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 15% of bachelor’s degrees, 5% of master’s degrees, 10% of doctoral degrees and 19% of all STEM degrees earned by Black students in higher education. 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 50,000 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 X (formerly Twitter) at @UNCF