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Uncle Nearest to raise $1m for Black universities

Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey has launched an initiative to raise US$1 million for ‘underfunded’ historically Black universities in the US.

Uncle Nearest Old Fashioned
Historically Black colleges and universities produce nearly 20% of all African American graduates

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Old Fashioned Challenge got under way on Martin Luther King Jr Day (16 January 2023). The initiative will run throughout Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March.

The scheme will raise funds for the nation’s top 58 ranked HBCUs, which will be able to use the money as they choose.

Fawn Weaver, founder and CEO of Uncle Nearest, said: “Many have opinions about [American football coach and former player] Deion Sanders’ decision to move from Jackson State, an HBCU, to Colorado. I will tell you what I know to be true: coach Prime put a much-needed spotlight on how HBCU programmes can compete if they are properly funded.

“He showed us what one person with influence, shining a light in HBCUs, can do to help.

“Enrolment in HBCUs grew tremendously after Beyonce’s 2019 film, Homecoming. I am certainly no Beyonce, but I have a spotlight on me, and it’s my greatest honour to be able to shift that spotlight where it should be – on our incredible historically Black colleges and universities.

“When I reached out to share this programme, so many of them asked me, ‘What can we do to help?’ I told each of them that I didn’t want them to do anything. It’s our turn to be torchbearers and give back, asking nothing in return.”

HBCUs account for fewer than 3% of university institutions in the US. However, they enrol 10% of all African American students, and produce nearly 20% of all African American graduates.

These graduates have continued to comprise 40% of Black judges, 50% of Black doctors and lawyers, and 40% of Black engineers.

Consumer participation

Until 31 March, consumers will be able to take part in the HBCU Old Fashioned Challenge via four ways.

First, for every Uncle Neared Old Fashioned sold in participating bars and restaurants, US$1 will be donated to the challenge.

Furthermore, US$1 will be donated for each whiskey bottled sold via online and in-person stores taking part in the challenge.

Reserve Bar will also sell Old Fashioned Kits, with both Uncle Nearest and Reserve Bar donating US$1 for each kit sold.

Lastly, consumers can also submit a photo of a homemade Uncle Nearest Old Fashioned via, for which the brand will donate US$1.

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