Candra Parker understands the importance of scholarships. “With six children in our family, affording college was questionable for me,” she says. “My father went to the University of Virginia on my behalf in 1979, and the university provided me with a tuition-assisted scholarship.”
Since 2010, Parker has served as area development director for the United Negro College Fund’s Richmond office. Established in 1944, the UNCF stands by its original slogan: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Through its efforts, the organization has helped put almost 50,000 minds to good use by providing about $615 million in scholarships.
Marcus Smith, a senior from Plainfield, Ill., studying finance and banking at Virginia Union University, credits the UNCF for his ability to stay in college during the last four years. After receiving a VUU presidential scholarship his first year, Smith took advanced honors courses, and his grade point average dipped to 3.49, causing him to lose the scholarship. During his sophomore, junior and senior years, he has received multiple scholarships through UNCF, including emergency aid and a Robert Dole Scholarship for disabled students. (Smith is legally blind in one eye.) He was on his own for room and board, and books, which he paid for by working part-time jobs at Walmart and Movieland, and by tutoring other students in math and business.(Richmond Magazine)