One of the best top Black-Owned spirit companies is putting money back into the community.
Whiskey Brand Uncle Nearest is gearing up for its own competition, dubbed the “HBCU Old Fashioned Challenge.”
The nationwide initiative looks to raise $1 million for Historically Black Colleges and Universities after it launched on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It will extend through March, which of course, includes Black History Month and Women’s History Month.
Uncle Nearest isn’t choosing favorites, as the stack of cash will be distributed amongst the nation’s top 58 ranked HBCUs to be used however they want.
But money aside, the brand wants to shed a brighter light on HBCUs and their contribution to society and the workforce. And with more than the inadequate funding some of the institutions are currently receiving, their impact on students and the job market can be even greater.
“HBCUs make up less than 3% of college institutions, but they enroll 10% of all African American students, and produce almost 20% of all African American graduates. These graduates have gone on to hold high income jobs, making up 40% of Black judges, 50% of Black doctors and lawyers, and 40% of Black engineers,” states the press release. “Underfunding of HBCUs leads to lower graduation rates due to student debt and lack of resources, as well as causes understaffing and underrepresentation of Black faculty members.”
Fawn Weaver, the founder, and CEO of the liquor brand, spoke on how the influence of celebrities and attention can be positive for HBCUs as a whole.
“Many have opinions about Deion Sanders’ decision to move from Jackson State, an HBCU, to Colorado. I will tell you what I know to be true: Coach Prime put a much-needed spotlight on how HBCU programs can compete if they are properly funded,” Weaver said. “He showed us what one person with influence, shining a light on HBCUs, can do to help. Enrollment in HBCUs grew tremendously after Beyoncé’s 2019 film, Homecoming. I am certainly no Beyoncé, but I have a spotlight on me, and it’s my greatest honor to be able to shift that spotlight where it should be – on our incredible Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”
As with any challenge, there are rules, which you can read below:
- For every Uncle Nearest Old Fashioned sold at participating bars and restaurants, one dollar will be donated to the challenge.
- Uncle Nearest will donate one dollar for each bottle of whiskey sold at participating online and brick-and-mortar retail stores.
- ReserveBar will sell Old Fashioned Cocktail Kits, featuring a bottle of Uncle Nearest as well as syrup and bitters from Hella Cocktail Co., the Black-owned bitters and soda company. For every kit sold, both Uncle Nearest and ReserveBar will donate one dollar to the challenge.
- During the time period, brand fans can also submit a photo of a homemade Uncle Nearest Old Fashioned at www.oldfashionedcocktail.com. Uncle Nearest will donate one dollar for each image received.
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