Gray Foundation Hosts New UNCF Gray NYC Scholars Attending HBCUs


UNCF Gray NYC Scholars

New UNCF/Gray Scholars and Gray Scholar Alumni gather to meet Gray Foundation Founders Jon and Mindy Gray, and Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF (far left).
New UNCF/Gray Scholars and Gray Scholar Alumni gather to meet Gray Foundation Founders Jon and Mindy Gray, and Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF (far left).

Washington, D.C., June 27, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — On June 26, 2023, UNCF (United Negro College Fund) and the Gray Foundation announced the 2023 high school graduates selected to receive scholarships from the UNCF Gray NYC Scholars Program. Funded with a $3 million grant from the Gray Foundation, the program helps underrepresented New York City students from low-income backgrounds attend and earn their degrees at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The goal of the UNCF Gray NYC Scholars Program is to promote college access and success for New York City high school seniors who are both economically disadvantaged and underrepresented in higher education (Black, Latinx, or Native American) who wish to enroll at HBCUs. The Program will reduce financial barriers to college access by providing four-year need-based scholarships and wrap-around student support services to ensure college persistence to graduation. Each scholar will receive an annual scholarship of up to $50,000 helping to cover tuition, room, board, and other education expenses. Scholars were nominated by schools and college access organizations funded by the Gray Foundation.

“We are excited to deepen our partnership with UNCF to expand college access for New York City students seeking to attend historically Black colleges and universities. We congratulate the 2023 scholarship awardees and welcome them into the community of Gray NYC Scholars,” said co-founders Jon and Mindy Gray.  

“For too long, HBCUs, which have played an outsized role in producing this country’s Black middle class, have been out of reach, and in some cases off the radar, for low-income students in New York City. This program puts HBCUs within reach and broadens the realm of viable college options so that students have the opportunity to choose the school that is the best fit for their interests and needs,” said Gray Foundation president Charissa Fernández.

As part of this unique, transformational partnership, UNCF will provide both this new cohort of scholars, as well as Gray NYC Scholars funded through other Gray Foundation grants, with valuable student support services that have proven critical to enabling first-generation students to persist and achieve degree completion. These services include a college success coach, online learning communities, and an HBCU mentor network. In addition, the Gray Foundation team leverages their personal and professional networks to facilitate meaningful career connections for the Scholars.

To establish the inaugural cohort of UNCF Gray NYC Scholars, UNCF selected 11 scholars from among 79 New York City students who were nominated by the Gray Foundation’s 27 college access partners.

On June 26, these inaugural UNCF Gray NYC Scholars along with members of their families, the schools and organizations that assisted them with the college admissions process, and the existing cohort of Gray NYC Scholars, met with Gray Foundation co-founders Mindy and Jon Gray, and UNCF president and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax at a reception in New York City.

Together, UNCF and the Gray Foundation are working to enable more students to fulfill their educational goals and to graduate from college prepared for rich intellectual lives, competitive and fulfilling careers, engaged citizenship, and service to their communities and our nation.


“We are delighted to partner with the Gray Foundation to help more New York City students of color attend HBCUs and provide them with the necessary support services to achieve degree completion. I commend Jon and Mindy Gray for their philanthropic leadership in demonstrating how foundations can partner with UNCF to advance the mission of expanding educational opportunity and equity. I believe together we are making a tremendous difference in the lives of these students as we help educate them to become the future leaders of our nation,” said UNCF president and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax.

To learn more about the new UNCF/Gray NYC Scholars Program or other UNCF Scholarship programs please contact Diego Aviles, vice president, Northeast Division, UNCF, at [email protected].



 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, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. While totaling only 3% of all colleges and universities, UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 15% of bachelor’s degrees, 5% of master’s degrees, 10% of doctoral degrees and 19% of all STEM degrees earned by Black students in higher education. 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 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.


About The Gray Foundation 
The Gray Foundation is committed to improving the lives of low-income children in New York City. The Foundation partners with leading nonprofits to provide access to education, healthcare and opportunity for children across all five boroughs. In addition, the Foundation is focused on raising awareness, accelerating research, and improving treatment for individuals and families who have inherited BRCA mutations. Mindy and Jon Gray founded the Gray Foundation in 2014. They have donated more than $275 million in support of these missions and more than $55 million to support college access and success specifically. For more information, visit  


CONTACT: Roy Betts UNCF 2407033384 [email protected] 

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