UNCF’s Panda Cares Scholars Program and Broccoli City Team Up to Provide Revitalizing Community Service Initiative for Young Scholars

Media Contact

Monique LeNoir UNCF Communications 202.810.0231 monique.lenoir@uncf.org

The Panda Cares Foundation, through the Panda Cares Scholars Program, administered by UNCF (United Negro College Fund), has just announced a partnership with Broccoli City for the Acts of Care 2022 Community Service Project Competition. Through this invigorating, virtual service-learning competition, young scholars and future leaders will have the opportunity to collectively address tangible issues affecting a target community service sector.

“UNCF is not only an organization providing scholarships to underserved students, but is also an educational and mentorship powerhouse. Through the work we do via the Panda Cares Scholars Program, we are providing transformational professional development that will place our scholars ahead of the competition when applying for an entry-level position in an ever-evolving job market,” explained Sekou Biddle, vice president for advocacy and student profession development programs, UNCF.

As mentioned by researchers from the Alliance for Resource Equity, “people of color and their families find themselves enduring a pandemic that disproportionately impacts their health, mired in an economic crisis that disproportionately affects their financial well-being, and living in a country that too often still struggles to recognize their humanity.” Through this unique competition, scholars will have an opportunity to create or reimagine a project idea that will center on those affected the most in their community, with an educational aspect.

Forty individual, innovative public service proposals, consistent with the competition’s theme of “Uplifting through Education,” were submitted, with 10 projects making it to team selection of those 10 teams five will make it to the final live competition. Throughout the three-week online intensive, scholars will be coached by leading industry professionals to learn to work as a team, how to conduct research, craft a full, well-constructed grant proposal, and bolster their advocacy skills. A virtual grant presentation competition on Saturday, April 23 will crown one team victorious-complete with a $5,000 cash prize and full funding to bring their project proposal to fruition.

“We want to provide our scholars with an interactive experience that will take the theories of our professional development curriculum and apply them in a real-life scenario,” said Arnika Jackson, director of student professional development programs, UNCF. “Thanks to the partnership with Panda Cares and Broccoli City, our students will complete a process for applying for a grant, training in public speaking, working through cross-functional team management and learning entry-level accounting—all skills needed to help them find jobs.”

The Panda Cares Scholars Program, funded by the Panda Cares Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Panda Express, is a unique scholarship and mentorship program for under resourced students of color with unmet financial need to empower them to earn a college degree. The program began in 2018 and has grown into multiple options for students seeking financial assistance. Powered by its global family of associates and guests, Panda supports students through their educational journey from elementary through college to thrive through leadership programs and academic achievement and success. To learn more about the Panda Cares Scholars Program, go to UNCF.org/PandaCares.

Having Broccoli City as a sponsor this year helps ignite the Panda Cares Scholars community service initiative, as the social enterprise roots itself in building thriving urban communities that sustain future generations. One way they’ve done this is by encouraging individuals to be active and engaged in their communities and rewarding that engagement at various levels through their revolutionary Chip’N app. Community service allows for knowledge gained by experience with community through social entrepreneurship, hands-on training in developing, branding, and pitching a real-time solution, and demonstration of self-awareness and personal values. Through an array of diverse programs and events, including the organization’s flagship music festival, Broccoli City continues to create pathways to higher standards of sustainable living, environmental sustainability, economic opportunities, and access to high-quality food and shelter for their community.

About Panda Cares

Panda Cares®, the philanthropic arm of Panda Express, has raised more than $282 million and dedicated countless volunteer hours in bettering the health and education for over 13 million youths, as well as supporting communities in need since 1999. For more information about Panda, visit pandaexpress.com, pandacares.org or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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. 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.