Columbus Comes Together to Invest In UNCF, HBCUs and the City’s Future

The 350 Columbusites who turned out for UNCF’s Sixth Annual Mayor’s Luncheon to raise $100,000 knew that their generosity would benefit UNCF-member Wilberforce University, just an hour’s drive southwest of Columbus near Dayton and UNCF’s 36 other member HBCUs and their students. In fact, one of those students, Markayla Brooks, an honors student studying journalism at member HBCU Clark Atlanta University was there to say, “thank you.”

But the funds raised by the UNCF luncheon was a helping hand to deserving young students—UNCF awarded $1,611,000 per year in scholarships—but much more, too. As everybody knows who has heard UNCF’s motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,”® every contribution to UNCF is an investment in the future: the future of thousands of young people like Markayla Brooks, but an investment, too, in the economic strength of the Columbus area. Each year, according to HBCUs Make America Strong: The Positive Economic Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, an independently researched study commissioned by UNCF, Wilberforce University and its neighboring HBCU, Central State University, contributed 1,234 jobs, $124 million in economic impact, and $1 billion in added income for HBCU graduates to the Ohio economy.

How do those numbers translate to human beings? Two of the high-ranking political leaders at the luncheon were HBCU alumni. Columbus City Council President Shannon G. Hardin, a Columbus native, earned his bachelor’s degree at UNCF-member institution Morehouse College. And Dayton-born Congresswoman Joyce Beatty received her bachelor of arts from HBCU Central State University.

What does it all add up to? An important investment. A significant return. And dividends that shape the community.