UNCF/Alaska Airlines’ Charity Miles Partnership Brings Dreams Within Reach for Students of Color
Dureti Jamal always knew she wanted to go to college. She just didn’t know how to get there.
As a first-generation college applicant, she didn’t know how to build a resume. She’d never heard of the Common App and didn’t know where to look for potential scholarships.
Then Jamal heard of the Portfolio Project, a program of UNCF that provides mentorship and guidance to minority high school students as they navigate the college application project.
“Neither of my parents went to college, so I knew I would have to find help with the applications,” she said. “I definitely could not have done that on my own. I didn’t know anything about the college process—I don’t know what I would have done.”
Two years later, Jamal is a senior at Franklin High School in Seattle and has already received acceptance letters from two of the schools she applied to.
UNCF was founded in 1944 to help more African American students attend and graduate from college. Since then, the organization has helped to nearly double the number of minorities attending college.
Today it is Alaska Airlines’ newest Charity Miles partner, joining nine other organizations supported year-round by Alaska Mileage Plan members through the donation of frequent flier miles.
“Our top focus is to increase the number of African American students who are entering college, staying in college and graduating college to then go on to meaningful and successful careers,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF president and CEO. “One of the big barriers for our students taking advantage of the opportunities we offer is that they may not have the means to travel. This partnership with Alaska Airlines will help remove that barrier for students who need it most.”
Miles donated will supplement a 1-million-mile seed gift from Alaska Airlines and will help students fly to college tours, travel back and forth between school and home, and participate in a variety of leadership development programs and other programming offered by UNCF.
How to give
Mileage Plan members can donate as few as 1,000 miles through Alaska’s Charity Miles donation program at alaskaair.com/charitymiles. Bonus: Donating will help keep your account active if you haven’t been flying or redeeming as frequently.
Since 2011, Mileage Plan members have donated more than 300 million miles to charitable organizations through Charity Miles.
UNCF also accepts cash donations for its various programs, including scholarships, mentorship and other programming.