Each summer, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) hosts a benefit at the home of Nancy Silberkleit, co-CEO of Archie Comics, in East Hampton. The event raises over $300,000 that goes towards scholarships for under-represented students and raises additional funds for historically Black colleges and universities. The mission is for all Americans to have equal access to a college education.
“So many people in the Hamptons, hundreds every year, come out to support the event,” says Silberkleit. In the past few years, honorees have included Sharlee Jeter, R. Donahue Peebles, Dr. Johnetta Cole and Edward Lewis.
This year, instead of a large gathering, Silberkleit is involved in the National UNCF Virtual Walk for Education. The New York walk is scheduled for Saturday, September 19, and anyone can participate.
“I’ve always felt comfort to stand by our youth and to help place students on a path to succeed and grow in being a positive force in society—I was a teacher for 25 years,” says Silberkleit.
UNCF is the nation’s largest minority education organization. The foundation supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs. UNCF’s trademark slogan is: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” The foundation gives out 60,000 scholarships each year for students to attend historically Black colleges and universities.
Through Silberkleit’s activism in education, she notes that she has seen “a huge inequity and inequality in the quality of education, opportunities and quality of life for African-Americans and Latinos.” The walk “is a way people in the Hamptons can continue to contribute to seeing that young African-Americans and Latinos receive financial support to seek a better future for themselves, even in the midst of a changing situation of circumstances,” says Silberkleit.
You can join Silberkleit’s team to walk at give.uncf.org or make a donation directly to UNCF at uncf.org. “Show your support by making a donation, participate individually, form or join a team,” says the UNCF website. “Make a difference while practicing social distancing—walk, run, cycle, dance—all in honor of UNCF, our students and schools.”
Attendees will join online on September 19 at 2 p.m. to celebrate with UNCF during the nationwide virtual event, featuring celebrities, member presidents, students, alumni and others.
“This is a way to help African-Americans and Latino students see a better future for themselves,” says Silberkleit. “I know people are looking for ways to be helpful and hopeful.”
Visit uncf.org/event/2020-virtual-walk for more information.