It is one of the most important philanthropic organizations in the country, one that provides scholarships for Black students to attend private historically Black colleges and universities. In the years since its founding, the United Negro College Fund has provided hundreds of millions of dollars to students.
The organization was incorporated by Frederick D. Patterson, who was then president of Tuskegee University, as well as Mary McLeod Bethune and several others. The UNCF has had some prominent leaders over the years, including former congressman William H. Gray, Vernon Jordan and the current president and chief executive officer, Michael Lomax. The organization adopted a motto in 1972 that would become one of the most widely-recognized slogans in advertising history. The motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” won numerous awards.
For about 25 years, the UNCF raised large sums of money from a telethon hosted annually by late singer Lou Rawls called the Lou Rawls Parade of Stars. After Rawls's death, the event was renamed An Evening of Stars. An Evening of Stars will air on Sunday, April 25, 2015, at 10P/9C on BET.
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