United Negro College Fund

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) began in 1944 as an interracial organization for the joint benefit of twenty-seven private African American colleges, including Atlanta, Dillard, Fisk, Howard, and Lincoln universities, Spelman, Morehouse, and Bethune-Cookman colleges, and Hampton and Tuskegee institutes.  Many of these, especially Spelman and Morehouse, were longstanding interests of the Rockefeller family. The UNCF recognized that institutions of higher education for black Americans had little endowment and few well-to-do alumni compared to their white counterparts. They had been especially hard-hit by the reduction of students and funds during World War II. By the 1970s, the UNCF had 40 member institutions and had broadened its scope beyond general support to include scholarship funds and research on factors affecting African American higher education. The RBF began its support for the UNCF in 1944 and continued to make annual contributions into the 1980s, as well as larger gifts for special campaigns until 2000. Founding RBF trustee Winthrop Rockefeller served on the UNCF board.

database icon

Browse the major events in the Rockefeller Brothers Fund's history