Show Me the Give - UNCF
There's no greater gift than the gift of giving. Giving of your time, talent, and treasure multiplies the positive outcomes in society. Sounds out there right? In a study from the National Institutes of Health, participants who were given $100 and gave a portion of that money to charity enjoyed "activated pleasure centers in their brain". The summary of the scientific study, giving makes you feel good!
But it's not about giving for selfish reasons. However if more people in society gave, then wouldn't the theory extend that more people in our society would be feeling better? And if we're generating happier more giving people, what would the world look like? That's a beautiful thought. We could improve society by transforming into more of a giving and selfless culture.
I've often said, giving can spread like a good disease if we expose it in the right way. I've had this lifelong love affair with giving before I even knew what was happening. When I was a young girl, my father participated in a giving campaign in his office. He was eventually selected to deliver the ceremonial check on television. Wouldn't you know this particular show was the Lou Rawls Parade of Stars Telethon to benefit the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).
Serendipity was alive and kicking at the UNCF event
The telethon was in its infancy (founded in 1980) and yet the stars and giving flocked to the event. Low and behold my father was presenting the donation on behalf of Allstate Insurance Company next to another great organization - The Houston Oilers. And which star did they elect to deliver their donation? None other than Elvin Bethea. My father and Elvin Bethea's lifelong BFF friendship began from that very event. And it started while giving! You never know how giving will impact you, but I can guarantee you that you will never be the same. Meeting people who share that common bond of giving will be the best reward you could possibly experience. You will be among "your people" (that's givers) and great things happen when givers team up.
Fast forward to my adult life and the moment I could get involved with the same organization I did. While I did not attend a Historically Black College or University (HBCU), I saw the need to support the institutions that have educated and continue to educate some of the brightest minds in our country. For me it was about continuing a legacy of giving and applying my time, talent, and treasure where needed. The needs are rising among HBCUs to improve the educational experience and resources. I remember learning that there was a stigma that HBCUs offered a lesser education. I was so upset that the stigma existed. It was an ugly stain leftover from segregation, Jim Crow laws, and horrid racism. When I look at this impressive list of HBCU graduates, I am in awe:
- Oprah Winfrey (Tennessee State University, '86)
- Spike Lee (Morehosue College, '79)
- Jesse Jackson (North Carolina A&T, '65)
- Debbie Allen (Howard University, '71)
- Phylicia Rashad (Howard University, '70)
- Yolanda Adams (Texas Southern University, '83)
- Samuel L. Jackson (Morehouse College, '95)
- Taraji P. Henson (Howard University, '95)
While subpar thinking may have influenced the perception of HBCUs, it was exceptional educational leadership that produced these wonders of our world. Without the loving and learning at their respective HBCUs we may have missed out on their greatness. That's what drives me. What if I donated my time, talent, and treasure, and the next Oprah were to blossom from it? That's the reality of the circle of giving to the UNCF for HBCUs. I remember deciding to donate a full-blown scholarship of my own. Despite being early in my career, I was determined to make it work. I saw the benefit of my working a little bit harder to be able to offer a little bit more in the donation.
Incidentally, the UNCF honored Patti LaBelle in 2008 (broadcast in 2009) at their televised event - An Evening of Stars and I was proud to celebrate with everyone in Los Angeles. I normally turned down my tickets because I wanted to remain low-key. But when Patti is the honoree, you walk that red carpet! The music was incredible, but let me tell you, the giving was off the charts! It was so great to fellowship among a group of people who got it. We had a singular focus - funding HBCUs through the UNCF. We each took pride in helping to bring more students to HBCUs because of our time, talents, and treasures. That's the spirit of giving that never leaves you. It is a responsibility to give back in order to move students forward that drives givers to the UNCF.
The UNCF has created legacies, intellects, and a solid educational foundation through their giving campaigns. I could not think of a more worthy cause to continue my 2019 Giving Campaigns. I hope you would be interested in learning more about the UNCF and the many ways to donate. The mantra is alive and real, "a mind is a terrible thing to waste."
Here's where to start:
Tell them drJ sent you, and stay for a while! See you on the giving trail!