Washington, D.C., April 08, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The rapid spread of COVID-19 has brought to light unexpected challenges and critical issues that no one at UNCF (United Negro College Fund) could have anticipated. UNCF-member historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and their students, perennially challenged by limited financial resources, face new issues because of the growing pandemic.

“We pray that students, our member institutions, families, friends and colleagues are staying safe and taking necessary safety provisions to protect themselves. This is an unprecedented situation for all of us, but we are up to the challenge. UNCF is working rapidly to help address the critical emergency needs of our students and HBCUs particularly because the needs of these institutions are especially acute,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF’s president and CEO. “We at UNCF know that foundational HBCU legacies, dreams of a college education and brighter futures, and the important work of UNCF must not be washed away by such turbulent times.”

Lacking the technological infrastructure and hampered by staff dislocation, UNCF’s colleges and universities are struggling to effectively offer their students an education that has suddenly moved from the classroom to online, while also providing students and faculty the necessary tools and support they need.

Students also face a host of issues. Many UNCF-supported students come from communities where, even if they have the tools to get online, broadband access is limited or unavailable, so continuing their education solely online is made all that more difficult. Students’ part-time jobs have been temporarily eliminated. Some students find it financially difficult or to get back home, and some have no homes to which to go. Temporary housing near campus is often limited, and some students also need food support.

For 76 years, UNCF has maintained a strong track record of fundraising through tough national events. Since 2008 and the great recession, UNCF has raised more than $30 million in emergency funds and supported thousands of students with flexible emergency grants to help. In the past few weeks, UNCF has taken a leadership role to help address this crisis:

“Donations to UNCF.org will help UNCF to continue to support our work and to provide vital support to our schools and their students with these issues during this critical time,” Lomax said. “We are laser-focused on mitigating what’s happening now and, on our work, ahead. While UNCF, HBCUs and our students are in uncharted waters, we will persevere together with our partners, foundations, corporations and other generous individuals, like you, who make our work possible and believe so strongly in our mission. Our commitment to closing the educational attainment gap for African Americans and other underserved populations is as strong as ever.”



About UNCF 
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF. 

Monique LeNoir
United Negro College Fund, Inc. (UNCF)