Made in Wichita: UNCF, Scholarship Recipient Investing in the Future of His Home Town

Google “UNCF scholarships” and you’ll get the basics about UNCF: You’ll see, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in.”® You’ll learn that UNCF is the nation’s largest provider of scholarships to students of color, that it awards 10,000 scholarships every year under 400 programs, and that UNCF scholarship recipients have an average graduation rate of 70%, nearly double the 38% rate for all African American students, higher even than the 58% graduation rate for all students. Big, impressive national numbers.

But drill down to the regional level. What do those numbers mean for students in the St. Louis-Kansas area served by UNCF Chicago? In fact, those students receive more than $1 million in UNCF scholarships every year.

Drill down another level, to the individual level, and you’ll meet Marshall Johnson, a Wichita native, a student at Wichita State University, and the recipient of a UNCF-Koch Scholars Program, a scholarship funded by Wichita-based Koch Industries and the Charles Koch Foundation and focused on how entrepreneurship, economics and innovation contribute to well-being for individuals, communities and society.

Johnson, a double major in real estate finance and economics, wants to change the landscape of his home town through a career in commercial real estate. “I love it here,” says Johnson, who has interned summers as a brokerage intern at NAI Martens Commercial Real Estate. “It’s a great city.”

The foundations, corporation and individuals who fund the UNCF-Koch Scholars Program and UNCF’s 400-plus scholarship program are investing in better futures for students and, through their success, for all of us.

And Marshall Johnson? He’s our dividend.