In the immortal words of the greatest tagline ever written: A MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE.


If you think that any black child in America who has the grades can afford college, or get sufficient scholarship money, you need an education.  Last year, 220,000 students of all colors had to forgo a college education because they simply did not have the money – and a disproportionate number of those were minority students.

President & CEO Michael Lomax with students

The United Negro College Fund is the oldest, largest and most successful minority higher education assistance organization. It provides operating and program funds to 39 historically black colleges and universities, and scholarships and internships for more than 100,00 students at 900 different institutions. Over its 65 years, UNCF has raised more than $3 billion to help over 350,000 students attend and graduate college. These are 350,000 black kids who will go on to become surgeons, technology leaders, investment bankers, teachers and professionals who contribute greatly to society.

But the battle is far from over. Tuition has gone up 50% since 1990, while wages have not. And as any of us with 529 savings plan are painfully aware, college savings accounts have been pole-axed by the recession. And yet, one unassailable fact remains: a person with a college degree will earn a million dollars more in his or her lifetime than a high school graduate. Clearly, investing in higher education is an investment in our own economic future.

In 1959, John F. Kennedy donated the profits from his book Profiles in Courage to the United Negro College Fund. Let’s do something smart and courageous today, and invest in the brains of our young people. So they can grow up and repair all the damage we’ve done. Or become the next Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was also the product of a historically black college .

If you’d like to read more in depth about the UNCF, read  Marybeth Gasman’s excellent book:Envisioning Black Colleges: A History of the United Negro College Fund

UNCF is a Four Star Charity Navigator organization.

2 thoughts on “In the immortal words of the greatest tagline ever written: A MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE.

  1. Just think, you may have donated to the person who finds the cure for cancer or the inventor of “homes on Mars”. A mind IS a terrible thing to waste. I sure wish that my 12 year old son wouldn’t have wasted his this afternoon so we wouldn’t be up doing math past bedtime tonight!

  2. As an empolyee of and donor to UNCF, I want to thank you for this contirbution and for helping to spread the word about the important work that UNCF has been championing for more than 65 years. Our 39 member colleges and universities continue to provide their students with the quality education they need to live productive lives and instill in them a commitment to serving their communities. Today more than 10,000 students are receiving scholarships from UNCF and attending more than 900 colleges and universities throughout this great nation. As impressive as that sounds, tens of thousands more have the potential to succeed in college but lack the funds to pursue their education. So this gift, and the gifts from others who will follow your lead, will indeed make a difference in the lives of young people. After all….a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Many thanks.

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