UNCF Ad Campaign Calls for More Investment in African-American Ed

To emphasize the focus of its new campaign, the United Negro College Fund has somewhat altered its famous tagline. The mind is no longer just a terrible thing to waste, it is also a wonderful thing to invest in. The public service ads advertising the new slogan are coming along to bring attention to the new campaign to increase investment in college education of young African-Americans, reports Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

The campaign – which was created by Y&R in partnership with the Ad Council – was announced by UNCF President Dr. Michael Lomax. The room was packed with education luminaries including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools Kaya Henderson and former UNCF executive director Vernon Jordan.

To promote its message, UNCF will air 5 new 30-second PSAs that will star real students from around the country recounting their experience and calling for others to commit to UNCF’s mission.

Another video, for example, showed a student named David, who grew up in the housing projects of Cleveland.

“Education for me has been a way to get away from the idea of what was a normal life,” he said. “I want to be able to impact the community. Not just look back on where I came from, but to reach back to where I came from and pull some people up with me. My name is David, and I am your dividend.”

Lomax explained the PSAs were designed with the intention to not only raise money, but to inspire other children to go to and through college.

“Our young people need not only financial support and rigorous academics, they need us to foster a college-going culture …,” Lomax said.

Although the past decade has seen progress on African-American high school graduation and college enrollment rates, according to Duncan, there is much left to do. Raising college enrollment rates will involve breaking down financial and other socioeconomic barriers, he noted, and a failure to do so will result in the country losing out on a generation of leaders, thinkers and job creators who would all have played a role in America’s economic future.

According to Lomax, UNCF’s investment in African-American education after nearly 70 years has totaled more than $100 million a year in scholarships for more than 10,000 students at more than 900 colleges across the country. He added that UNCF African American scholarship student recipients have a 70 percent six-year graduation rate, 13 points higher than the national average for all students and 32 points higher than the national average for all African-Americans.