The UNCF Empower Me Tour Presented by Wells Fargo – a free, traveling college-and career-readiness road show sponsored by UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the country’s largest and most effective minority education organization – featured entertainer Fonzworth Bentley and radio personality Rashan Ali, as hosts for the Tour’s stop on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014.
Celebrating its sixth anniversary, the UNCF Empower Me Tour was created in partnership with Wells Fargo to prepare students to go to and through college and inspire them to take control of their future by using education as the foundation for achieving their goals and dreams. This year’s Atlanta event will be held in the Bishop Cornelius L. Henderson Student Center of Clark Atlanta University, one of UNCF’s 37 member institutions.
The Empower Me Tour featured Fonzworth Bentley, host of BET’s “Lift Every Voice” program, as a Tour co-host. “I am the fourth generation in my family to graduate from one of the 37 UNCF member institutions,” Bentley said. “Therefore, this is a very special honor for me to represent the values and goals of an organization that has given so much to not only the success of my family, but for thousands of families throughout this country and the world.”
The Atlanta Tour stop also included radio and television personality, Rashan Ali, as co-host. With a passion for sports, empowering young women and the people of Atlanta, Ali continues to establish herself within the sports and entertainment industries. As a magna cum laude graduate of Florida A&M University, her commitment to the HBCU community is undeniable. “It is certainly an honor to be a part of such a wonderful event. It is our duty to give and share our experiences with those who come behind us,” Ali said. “With great joy, I stand among many who share a piece of our history in my daily walk. I am a leader who likes to be led. Thank you for paving the way.”
For the Atlanta Tour stop, educators and entrepreneurs shared their personal educational journeys with participating high school and college students. Attendees participated in the Empower Me Tour Zone, an interactive experience for students, parents and educators. The Zone provides an opportunity to engage with college recruiters and to learn about scholarship and internship opportunities. The Empower Me Tour will also provide students and their parents with a full day of exhibits, college and career workshops, and engaging panel discussions with special guests and celebrities.
The day’s events are moderated by Tish Norman, Founder and CEO, Transforming Leaders Now, Inc. and this year’s speakers and workshop leaders include radio DJ Big Tigger; motivational speaker Dr. Alex O. Ellis; Michael E. Parker, founder of You Are a CEO; college completion expert Tawan M. Perry; and music executive Amir Windom. Prior Tour guests and panelists include actors Tatyana Ali and Hill Harper, journalist and social activist Jeff Johnson, and Dr. Randal Pinkett, winner of the fourth season of NBC’s The Apprentice with Donald Trump.
EMT attendees will also engage with college recruiters and learn about scholarship and internship opportunities. This includes a presentation from the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, which selects 1,000 talented students each year to receive a good-through-graduation scholarship to use at any college or university of their choice.
In 2012, 88 students from the Atlanta area received UNCF scholarships totaling more than $380 thousand and generated $3.5 million through fundraising activities.
“We are excited to bring UNCF’s Empower Me Tour Presented by Wells Fargo to the Atlanta area,” stated Miranda Mack McKenzie, UNCF Area Development Director. “The Tour provides essential tools for our area’s youth and supporting families to succeed in their academic pursuits, and transition into adulthood. In addition to solid academic training, it is essential that students are trained as financially-responsible citizens. Our EMT workshops and hands-on seminars offer opportunities for participants to invest in themselves and their futures. We look forward to a continued partnership with Wells Fargo and supporting sponsors in bringing our students to and through their collegiate journey, and beyond.”
Wells Fargo has almost 200 bank stores and more than 5,000 team members in the Atlanta area. In 2012, the company made $7 million in grants to Atlanta non-profits and Wells Fargo Volunteers gave 16,000 hours of their time in the community. Within the past two years, Wells Fargo has contributed $250,000 to UNCF initiatives in the Atlanta region.
“Wells Fargo is excited to team up again with UNCF and to bring the UNCF Empower Me Tour back to the Atlanta,” said Leonard Walker, Business Banking Division Manager, of Wells Fargo’s Atlanta Region. “We know that education is the great equalizer in our country, and it is one of our passions to ensure that students have access to higher education. This tour makes the possibility of college real to young people across the nation, by providing them and their parents with information, tools and resources that help them make informed decisions about their future.”
The UNCF Empower Me Tour Presented by Wells Fargo has visited St. Louis, New Orleans, Dallas, the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Detroit along its 2013 Tour, with upcoming stops planned for Memphis (February 15, 2014), Charlotte (March 1, 2014), and Chicago (March 21, 2014).
In addition to Presenting Sponsor, Wells Fargo, Supporting Sponsors of the UNCF Empower Me Tour’s Atlanta stop include: General Motors, Procter & Gamble, FedEx, US Marine Corps, US Army, and American Airlines. Education Partners: Education Is Freedom, US Department of Education Federal Student Aid, Gates Millennium Scholars Program, City Year, Inc. and Teach For America.