The United Negro College Fund was awarded a five-year, $21.9 million contract aimed at strengthening South Africa s 15 historically disadvantaged universities and technical institutions. UNCF won the contract last fall. The deal will be funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the funds will be used to enhance the curriculum, administration, research and financial development of the schools.
“I couldn’t think of a better marriage,” says Aaron S. Williams, former director of US AID, South Africa. “We selected UNCF because they have the vision and technical expertise to support the South African universities.”
For William H. Gray III, the former Congressman from Pennsylvania who now serves as the UNCF president and CEO, winning this contract was particularly rewarding. Gray, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 13 years before taking over UNCF, played a key role in implementing sanctions against the country. He authored the 1985-86 Anti-Apartheid Act.
“The UNCF has had 54 years’ worth of experience dealing with historically disadvantaged institutions and students. And we think there’s a lot of shared experience,” says Gray. “We’ve taken students out of the projects, sent them to black medical schools like Morehouse and turned them into doctors. Now we have the chance to go into Soweto and do the same thing.”