Friday, January 24, 2014

Joi Ridley, UNCF Communications Manager


Inspiring youth to excel in academic, financial and personal responsibility

ATLANTA (January 24, 2014) -- 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 -- will feature entertainer Fonzworth Bentley and radio personality Rashan Ali, as hosts for the Tour's stop on Saturday, January 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 will feature 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 will also include 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 will share their personal educational journeys with participating high school and college students. Attendees will participate 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.

For more information on the Empower Me Tour and to register for FREE, visit

About UNCF
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students' education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."® Learn more at

About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.4 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, and the Internet (, and has offices in more than 35 countries to support the bank's customers who conduct business in the global economy. With more than 270,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 25 on Fortune's 2013 rankings of America's largest corporations. Wells Fargo's vision is to satisfy all our customers' financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at

About Clark Atlanta University
Clark Atlanta University is a private, coeducational four-year university located in the historic heart of Atlanta. It is one of the largest of the nation's 37-member UNCF institutions and the only private historically black college or university designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a Doctoral/ Research University. Our nearly 3,600 students are engaged in some 38 areas of study in our four schools. National business and consumer publications rank Clark Atlanta high among the best buys in American higher education. Clark Atlanta University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral Degrees.