UNCF Awarded $1.9 Million Ascendium Grant to Improve Academic and Career Outcomes of HBCU Students

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the country’s largest and most effective minority education organization, announces today that it has been awarded a two-year grant from Ascendium Education Group to increase student success outcomes at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Funding will allow the UNCF Institute for Capacity Building to continue its initiative to build promising practices across a three-pronged, network-based approach: guided pathways, curricular enhancements, and integrated co-curricular engagements for eight partnering HBCUs and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs). In addition, UNCF will focus on building the institutions’ readiness, partnerships, and faculty development opportunities. With this institutional transformation effort, UNCF will work to drive greater accountability by devising action plans for institutions and providing data informed support to ensure plan execution and evaluation.

The two-year grant was awarded to the following institutions:

  • Chicago State University
  • Martin University
  • CUNY Medgar Evers
  • Johnson C. Smith University*
  • Lincoln University
  • Tuskegee University*
  • Lane College*
  • Stillman College*

The grant complements an existing seven-year investment from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. to help UNCF work with 23 HBCUs and one PBI with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of graduates that transition into meaningful careers in their chosen fields or to continue their education by attending a graduate program.

“UNCF is appreciative of this critical funding from Ascendium to increasing academic and economic equity and produce best practices for our member institutions,” says Dr. Michael Lomax, UNCF President and CEO. “This transformational initiative will provide the necessary training and staffing needed to greatly impact our nation’s HBCUs, their students and their local economy.”

“We’re excited to partner with UNCF in building on the momentum of the great work already underway through the Institute for Capacity Building,” said Amy Kerwin, vice president – education philanthropy at Ascendium. “This effort aligns with Ascendium’s goal of increasing the number of students who not only complete their degree, but who transition into careers in their chosen fields.”

*UNCF-member institutions


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, 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. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “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.


About Ascendium Education Group
Ascendium Education Group
is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to helping people reach the education and career goals that matter to them. Ascendium invests in initiatives designed to increase the number of students from low-income backgrounds who complete postsecondary degrees, certificates and workforce training programs, with an emphasis on first-generation students, incarcerated adults, rural community members, students of color and veterans. Ascendium’s work identifies, validates and expands best practices to promote large-scale change at the institutional, system and state levels, with the intention of elevating opportunity for all. For more information, visit www.ascendiumphilanthropy.org.

CONTACT: Khalilah Long
United Negro College Fund, Inc. (UNCF)