The Power of One: Lillie Williams Partners with UNCF to Send NJ Students to and through College

The numbers seem big: Last year, UNCF awarded 184 college scholarships, worth $1.7 million, to New Jersey students. UNCF also provided financial support that enabled almost 900 New Jersey students to attend one of its 37 member HBCUs. Nationwide, the numbers are even larger: more than 10,000 scholarships worth $109 million and support for more than 50,000 students at UNCF-member HBCUs.

Where does it all come from? Corporate contributions play their part. So do foundation grants. But nationwide, 71% of all charitable gifts come from individuals, people like Lillie Williams, a Paterson resident, a mother of four—three of whom have college degrees and two of whom hold graduate degrees—and a generous supporter of UNCF.

Why does Lillie Williams give to UNCF? Because UNCF and its member HBCUs can help young people “so that they can, through a great education, increase their standard of living and those of their family and community,” she says. “I give because UNCF schools are designed to educate first generation college attendees so that they are more likely to succeed,” she adds. And “I give to UNCF,” she concludes, “because I see HBCUs as an option for those young people who want a college education but cannot afford it on their own.”

Lillie Williams, and tens of thousands of individual donors like her, want to be catalysts for the greater good by using their resources to help underserved students get the education that has meant so much to their own children. Together they add up to the support that students from New Jersey and around the country need to go to and through college.

That’s the power of Lillie Williams. That’s the power of one.