NAFEO, UNCF Disagree on Fund-Raising Issues

Article excerpt

FAIRFAX, VA.

Two of the nation's most prominent organizations dedicated to Blacks in higher education are at odds over fund-raising issues.

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) have been long-standing partners in the arena of educational advocacy. The members of UNCF are almost all members of NAFEO.

However, at its March meeting, UNCF member presidents resolved that institutions that also are members of NAFEO are in violation of the fund's solicitation policy. The policy "prohibits any member institution from belonging to and receiving funds from a fund-raising organization which is in competition for dollars which might be solicited for UNCF."

As a result, UNCF, whose members include 39 private historically Black colleges and universities, has asked that NAFEO stop using the names of UNCF schools in the organization's marketing and fund-raising efforts.

In a letter to NAFEO president Dr. Henry Ponder, William H. Gray, UNCF president and CEO, advised Ponder of the resolution and that NAFEO's use of the names and images of UNCF institutions is "strictly prohibited." He asked that NAFEO "remove all UNCF member institutions' names from all NAFEO listings, including the Web site."

Ponder countered with a three-page letter to Gray in which he maintains that NAFEO is hot a fund-raising organization but an advocacy organization.

Although NAFEO's primary mission is hot fund raising, it has recently embarked upon economic initiatives that include corporate partnerships.

In his letter to Gray, Ponder explains the nature of these partnerships.

"The funds NAFEO generates come from fees paid to it for administering corporate partnerships developed with member colleges and universities.... NAFEO sends to member colleges and universities only income received above its operating costs.... No direct support is requested from corporations, foundations or the general public."

Ponder further argues that these efforts should hot be interpreted as a violation because they are based on sales generated, not solicitation requests.

UNCF, however, clearly views NAFEO's efforts as fund raising.

According to Clinton R. Coleman, UNCF's director of media relations, there is "no difference" between NAFEO's corporate partnerships and UNCF's own fundraising initiatives. …