Allstate raises funds for HBCU scholarships
**The Edvocate is pleased to publish guest posts as way to fuel important conversations surrounding P-20 education in America. The opinions contained within guest posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of The Edvocate or Dr. Matthew Lynch.**
A guest post by Anwar Dunbar
The first article I wrote for The Edvocate talked about Financial Literacy, and how it can lead to greater giving by alumni of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) back to their alma maters. This article will highlight an effort by Allstate and the Tom Joyner Foundation, to rally HBCU alumni, families, friends and supporters to help raise money for students currently enrolled at HBCUs. In addition to diminished funding from the Federal Government, and increased competition for students from Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs), one of the other major challenges HBCUs face is anemic alumni giving. In the face of these challenges, fundraising for HBCUs is paramount.
For the fifth straight year, Allstate and the Tom Joyner Foundation are partnering for the Quotes for Education program (QFE). The initiative is designed to raise funding for students enrolled in HBCUs, to ensure that they’re able to stay in school and finish their degrees. Some key points about the program include:
- Between August 1 and Nov. 30, Allstate will donate $10, up to $200,000, to the Tom Joyner Foundation general scholarship funds for every person who receives a quote and mentions Quotes for Education to participating agents.
- For the fourth year, participants can also vote for an HBCU of their choice to receive an additional $50,000 for scholarships.
- The school with the most votes will receive the $50,000. In 2013 and 2014, Grambling State University won the fan voting competition. In 2012, Lincoln University won the competition.
The QFE program encourages: students, alumni and supporters of HBCUs around the country to assist the future generation and help raise scholarship funds. According to a 2013 report by the Council for Aid to Education, only 10 percent of HBCU alumni actively give back to their alma maters, an embarrassingly low number. Furthermore, the resulting budget cuts and diminishing financial aid options have led to a decline in student enrollment.
For the third straight year, Allstate granted me an interview with their Senior Vice-President and Florida A&M University alumnus Cheryl Harris regarding the program and the current challenges facing HBCUs. The following are some excerpts from the interview which took place on September 17.
“I can tell you right now that Grambling State University is currently number one on the leader board with Tuskegee University in second place, and Jackson State University in third place. Grambling State University has won the competition twice in three years,” said Cheryl Harris regarding Allstate’s 2015 Quotes for Education program. “Again the goal is to get as many people possible engaged to quote and vote, so we can donate up to a total of $250,000 in support of HBCU scholarships”.
“What’s happening with the state funded HBCUs, is that the states have moved more towards a performance based funding model. Schools can therefore be impacted by their delivery against those metrics,” Mrs. Harris said regarding current issues HBCU’s are facing. “For that reason a program like ours becomes really important in closing the funding gap for deserving students at HBCUs by allowing them to stay in school. Our collaboration with the Tom Joyner foundation allows to us donate $10 for every quote received, and subsequently donate up to $200,000. In addition to that we’re also encouraging supporters to vote for their favorite HBCU so their school can win an additional $50,000 in scholarships funding as a part of the ‘HBC I owe U’ initiative”.
“Seeing what Grambling State University has done in our voting competition makes me smile. It’s not just the students on campus. Grambling State University also actively engages faculty and the community and in doing so build awareness and good will for the HBCUs,” Mrs. Harris continued.
At our Johnson C. Smith University Washington DC Alumni Club meetings, there have been numerous stories in the last two years of students being unable to register for classes and even being sent home in some instances. While HBCUs face challenges on the institutional level, students in some cases face challenges on the personal level in the form of their family’s difficulties financing their educations. One of their major challenges is thus running out of money and not being able to finish their degrees. These situations once again underscore the importance of QFE and other similar efforts.
“We need the readers to participate by going to: www.allstate.com/hbcu,” Mrs. Harris said in closing. “They can go there to find a participating agent. They can get a quote and while there they’re there, they can take the opportunity to vote”.
Anwar Y. Dunbar is a Regulatory Scientist in the Federal Government where he registers and regulates Pesticides. He earned his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Michigan and his Bachelor’s Degree in General Biology from Johnson C. Smith University. In addition to publishing numerous research articles in competitive scientific journals, he has also published over one hundred articles for the Examiner (www.examiner.com) on numerous education and literacy related topics in the areas of; Current Events and Culture, Higher Education, Financial Literacy, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). He actively mentors youth and works to spread awareness of STEM careers to minority students. He also tutors in the subjects of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. He is a native of Buffalo, NY. He can be contacted via email at [email protected], and can be followed on Twitter @anwaryusef.