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Northeast Florida Council of UNCF to Host Inaugural UNCF Week

February 8, 2021 - International League (IL) - Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp News Release

JACKSONVILLE, FL - The Northeast Florida (NEFL) Council of UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is launching a new week of activities designed to excite the Northeast Florida community to support students and historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The one-of-its-kind weeklong digital festivities are designed, in an increasingly difficult time in our nation's history, to support high-performing students who are challenged financially, working to prevent them from giving up on their dreams of higher education. UNCF is dedicating its virtual week to raise funds to increase scholarships and support HBCUs, including Jacksonville's local UNCF-member institution, Edward Waters College.

The week-long highlight of UNCF activities will kick off on Sunday, Feb. 28 with UNCF Sunday. Since the majority of UNCF institutions were church-founded or church-affiliated, on this day UNCF will call on all faith-based organizations to ask their parishioners to help support UNCF giving. On Monday, the NEFL UNCF website and social media platforms will highlight the accomplishments of scholarship recipients. On Tuesday, NEFL UNCF will help parents and students learn "Where the Money Resides" in its highly anticipated scholarship forum, which will include prizes for participation. Wednesday is "Workplace Wednesday," which offers the chance to learn about ways for local companies to support the efforts of UNCF through workplace giving programs. Thursday culminates the week with a hosted virtual breakfast that will recognize local leaders.

"UNCF Week is the culmination of the important work we do to help support students." Paul Gloersen, regional development director, UNCF, said. "Through our scholarship forum, church initiative and other activities, we seek to be an advocate for all students who have a dream of higher education."

Members of the community can show their support by participating virtually from the comfort of their home, as well as by donating to UNCF. UNCF works on behalf of 37 member institutions nationwide, including Edward Waters College, which is located in Jacksonville. Edward Waters College is both the state of Florida's first independent institution of higher learning as well as Florida's first HBCU.

"For more than 76 years, UNCF has fueled HBCUs with vital resources to educate generations of African American and other minority students," said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. "During an unprecedented time in our history compounded by COVID-19 and racial disparities, our students and institutions are faced with enormous challenges now more than ever. We are at risk of washing away a generation of talented and deserving African American and minority students. We need as many donations as possible right now because the students we help now will be our next generation of doctors, nurses, biologists, virologists, epidemiologists-the pandemic front liners of the future. We invite everyone in northeast Florida to join our efforts to help ensure better futures for us all."

A recent UNCF survey of more than 5,000 students across 17 HBCUs found that many are dealing with difficulties such as sick family members, trouble paying bills and general stress from the ongoing pandemic and recent protests against police brutality. Support is needed immediately as students and institutions are faced with challenges including COVID-19 and racial disparities.

To learn more, to donate or to register for the event, please go to UNCF Orlando. Events can be found on NEFL UNCF's Facebook page and Instagram page (@UNCFJax).

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