Uncle Nearest Holds Second Annual Challenge To Raise $1.4M For Underfunded HBCUs

The Black-owned spirits brand began this year’s campaign on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Jan. 15) and will end it on Juneteenth (Jun. 19).

Uncle Nearest has announced the launch of its second annual HBCU Old Fashioned Challenge, a campaign aimed at raising money for underfunded HBCUs. This year’s challenge, which began on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Jan. 15) and will end on Juneteenth (Jun. 19), will see the company work to raise $1.4 million.

Speaking on the accomplishment of its first-ever campaign in 2023, a spokesperson for the Black-owned spirits brand took to Instagram and wrote, “Thanks to the participation of 3,500 bars, restaurants, retail stores, Uncle Nearest’s matching donation, and YOU, we [were] able to give nearly $1,000,000 to HBCUs across the nation, covering 79 SCHOLARSHIPS!”

In October of 2023, NPR reported that federal officials revealed that 16 states had been underfunding some of their HBCUs by over $12 billion for nearly three decades. These numbers came from an analysis made by the U.S. Department of Education.

"Before we sold our first bottle of Uncle Nearest, we were already funding the college education of Nearest Green's descendants," Founder and CEO of Uncle Nearest Fawn Weaver said in a press release. "Every semester, writing those checks brought me immense joy, knowing the significant impact they would have on each student's life. This same feeling resurfaced when I began writing tuition checks to HBCUs for our Old Fashioned Challenge. It's an honor, and my hope is that we can continue this tradition annually with the checks growing larger as the Uncle Nearest whiskey family expands."

"Uncle Nearest gives a lot, with 'pulling as we climb' being part of our DNA right from the start," added Victoria Eady Butler, great-great-granddaughter of Nearest Green and four-time Master Blender of the Year. "But this challenge is something special, 'cause we're inviting our whiskey family to join us in giving back. Seeing the excitement from them, and our thousands of retail, restaurant, bar, hotel, and airline partners across the country even before this year's challenge kicked off, well, that lets me know we've started something extraordinary. To our whiskey family and partners everywhere, thank y'all!"

Below is how the public can participate in Uncle Nearest’s HBCU Old Fashioned Challenge:

  • Ordering an Uncle Nearest Old Fashioned at participating bars and restaurants, where one dollar will be donated per cocktail ordered.
  • Purchasing any bottle of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey at participating online and brick-and-mortar retail stores, where one dollar will be donated per bottle purchased.
  • Purchasing an Old Fashioned Bundle through ReserveBar, where two dollars will be donated for every bundle purchased.
  • Submitting a photo of a homemade Uncle Nearest Old Fashioned here, where one dollar will be donated per entry. It is limited to one entry per email.

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