The UNCF enables more then 60,000 students to close the educational
gap between African Americans and the majority population by providing operating
funds for its 39 member colleges, administering 400 scholarship and internship
programs, serving as a national advocate for the importance minority higher
education by representing the public policy interests of its students and member
colleges, and by using print and electronic media to carry out the mission
implicit in its motto.
The UNCF symbol resembles a torch. Traditionally, torches have been used to
represent knowledge and enlightenment. UNCF uses a flame and torch base to
represent how the organization lights the way for advanced learning and
leadership. The flame represents the light of knowledge that all UNCF students
The UNCF was incorporated on April 25, 1944 by Frederick D. Patterson (then
president of what is now Tuskegee University), Mary McLeod Bethune, and others.
In 2005, the UNCF supported approximately 65,000 students at over 900 colleges
and universities with approximately $113 million in grants and scholarships.
About 60% of these students are the first in their families to attend college,
and 62% have annual family incomes of less than $25,000. UNCF also administers
over 450 named scholarships.