The United Negro College Fund has announced fellowship awards to eighteen African-American students through its Social Entrepreneurship K-12 Education Fellows Program, the inaugural project of UNCF's Social Entrepreneurship initiative.
Supported by a $1.08 million seed grant from the Walton Family Foundation and funding from the Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation, the fellowship program is designed to build a pipeline of talented African-American college graduates equipped to enter careers that apply innovative, sustainable models to elementary and secondary education reform. Although research has demonstrated that reform efforts are more likely to be successful when their leadership includes members of groups likely to benefit from reform, organizations dedicated to school reform often lack diversity in their leadership.
The first class of Social Entrepreneurship K-12 Education Fellows includes college juniors from six UNCF-member institutions: Johnson C. Smith University, Morehouse College, Dillard University, Bennett College, Xavier University, and Spelman College. The fellows will participate in job placement, loan forgiveness, practitioner and faculty mentoring, and leadership development programs as well as an eight-week summer internship with a leading education social entrepreneurship organization based in New York City, Boston, or Washington, D.C.
"These extraordinary students are our community's future leaders," said UNCF president and CEO Michael L. Lomax. "They are the social entrepreneurs of the future, who will recognize social problems and use entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage ventures to facilitate social change. One day, these change agents will run successful, sustainable organizations that will combat social issues like education reform, homelessness, poverty, the environment, AIDS, and more. Their work will have a huge impact not only on our communities but on the world."