UNCF outreach points to different school role

FAIRFAX, VA: The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) on Thursday unveiled a new logo and accompanying branding campaign intended to convey the continuing importance and relevance of the nation's largest provider of minority scholarships.

FAIRFAX, VA: The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) on Thursday unveiled a new logo and accompanying branding campaign intended to convey the continuing importance and relevance of the nation's largest provider of minority scholarships.

Along with a presentation at Atlanta's Spelman College, the group is conducting extensive media outreach promoting the UNCF and its new logo, which was developed by Landor Associates and is a slimmer, more colorful version of its current torch.

Outreach includes national outlets, such as The New York Times, Bloomberg, and CNN, and black-focused media outlets, such as the Tom Joyner Morning Show.

A group representative also was expected on Friday to ring NASDAQ's closing bell. UNCF's new messaging will also be highlighted through an updated Web site, in headlines in New York's Times Square, and its ongoing sponsorship of the annual "An Evening of Stars" concert, which this year honors singer William "Smokey" Robinson.

While its legal name remains the same, and it retains its classic tagline, the group will now on first reference go by its acronym, reflecting a sentiment within the African-American community that the word "Negro" is archaic.

UNCF president and CEO Dr. Michael Lomax said research on behalf of the organization found that the UNCF's famous tagline, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste," remained a great element of the organization's identity, but that a newer generation of African Americans did not fully appreciate the extent of the UNCF scholarship program or that it provides operating funds to 39 historically black colleges and universities in the country.

"Research told us things that were wonderful, but disturbing," Lomax said. "It said UNCF is an admired, esteemed organization, but that many people think of UNCF as a scholarship provider, unaware of the 39 colleges we support. The challenge is to enlist the brand and free advertising we get to let a wider audience know that we're still vital and relevant."

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