WASHINGTON - In an effort to close the controversy over the alleged misuse of Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) scholarship money, two members of the Caucus who reportedly gave improper grants to friends and family have returned those funds.
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas and Congressman Sanford Bishop of Albany, Georgia returned $37,496 to the Foundation and the funds were in turn donated to the Uniteed Negro College Fund campaign for Essential Student Aid.
"When CBCF received the returned funds, Chairman Payne instructed the foundation to get the funds redistributed promptly and we immediately thought of UNCF which has a excellent reputation for awarding scholarships to deserving college students," said Elsie L. Scott, Ph.D., president and chief executi.ve officer for CBCF. "We wanted to make certain the monies could be awarded in a timely manner to needy students residing in the Dallas and Georgia congressional districts."
Due to the sluggish economy, thousands of students are in critical need of immediate help to pay off tuition and room and board balances in order to graduate in the 2010-2011 school year. The recognition of this need by UNCF, led to the development of CESA. Since CESA's inception in spring of 2009, more than $7 million in assistance has been given to more than 4,000 college and university seniors who needed funds to ensure that they can complete their senior year.
"CBCF has provided its stellar internship, scholarship and fellowship programs to thousands of students for almost four decades, changing the landscape of Capitol Hill," said Rep. Donald M. Payne, of New Jersey and chair of CBCF. "Since 2000, the Foundation has provided more than $15 million toward educational opportunities and programs for students, providing a direct stream of financial support to students attending college. The partnership with UNCF allows us to continue our commitment to educating black youth, particularly for students facing hardship on the eve of graduation," he said.
UNCF and CBCF share a common mission in developing the next generation of leaders. In addition to awarding 10,000 scholarships a year, under CESA and 400 other scholarship programs, UNCF supports 39 historically black colleges and universities and works with Congress to ensure that minority education remains high on the national agenda.
"We share a great cause with CBCF in helping our young people get the education they need and that we as a nation need them to get," said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., UNCF president and chief executive officer. "We are grateful for CBCF's generous gift and look forward to working closely together toward the goals we share."
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc., established in 1976, is a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy, research and educational institute dedicated to developing leaders, informing policy and educating the public around issues relevant to the African American community.
UNCF is the nation's largest and most effective minority scholarship organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. UNCF supports education through scholarships and other programs, and by advocating for the importance of minority education. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, 60 percent of students supported by UNCF are the first in their families to attend college; 62 percent are from families with annual income of less than $25,000; and 93 percent qualify for financial aid.The UNCF logo features the torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."¨