UNCF Houston Volunteer Leadership: Force Multiplier for Educational Opportunity

Every year, UNCF Houston holds its “A Mind Is…” Gala, and a UNCF Walk for Education. The office solicits hundreds of contributions for its annual campaign and reaches out to hundreds more longtime supporters and potential new investors.

How many people does it take to do all that? The UNCF Houston web page lists four staff members: Area Director Juana Collins, Area Development Director Jeff Shaw, Development Associate Peris Flagg, and Administrative Assistant Jewell Bass.  Could all those events and all that outreach to the community be done by just four people?

Of course not. To do all the work involved in helping students in Houston and around the country, UNCF Houston relies on their “force multiplier”: its volunteers and volunteer leadership.

What’s a force multiplier? It’s something that increases the effectiveness of a group and enables it to accomplish greater things. And that’s exactly what UNCF-Houston’s volunteers do.  Like the UNCF Houston Leadership Council: 17 corporate, non-profit, journalistic and professional leaders from across the community who bring the community’s views to UNCF Houston’s staff leadership and reach out to the community to secure the resources that UNCF HBCUs and their students need.

Comcast executive Bryce Hairston Kennard, a graduate of UNCF-member HBCU Morehouse College, chairs the UNCF Houston Leadership Council. “UNCF works to make college dreams become a reality,” he says. As a “former UNCF scholarship recipient, my goal is to pay it forward by helping secure opportunities for bright minds.” Leadership Council Vice Chair Julie Fitzpatrick, an executive with Wells Fargo, agrees. Her parents, she says, “understood the importance of education and how it changed families for the better. UNCF is committed to changing the lives of families through education, and because of that I am a proud supporter.”

What does the work of the Leadership Council, plus all UNCF Houston’s other volunteers, add up to? Annual events like the UNCF “A Mind is…” Gala. More than $1.3 million in support for four Texas HBCUs: Huston-Tillotson University, Jarvis Christian College, Texas College and Wiley University and 33 other UNCF-member HBCUs. And 45 years of work by UNCF Houston helping students from Houston and across the country get the education they need and that we, as a community, needs them to have. That’s what a force multiplier can do.

Interested in becoming a volunteer? Click here for details.