The HBCU Founders Initiative and the United Negro College Fund Partner with Verizon and the Clinton Global Initiative University to Inspire and Support Undergraduate and Graduate Students in Tackling Society’s Most Pressing Challenges

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The HBCU Founders Initiative (HBCUFI), a nonprofit organization that supports Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) students and alumni along their entrepreneurial journey, and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization, have announced their partnership with Verizon and the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) to inspire and support undergraduate and graduate students in tackling society’s most pressing challenges as a part of their Forward for Good Challenge.

Verizon Forward for Good Challenge is part of Citizen Verizon, Verizon’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental, and social advancement. It encourages teams comprised of current undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at U.S. institutions, and CGI U alumni, to leverage 5G and other leading-edge technology to advance equity within the U.S. in CGI U’s five focus areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health. Finalists will receive access to intensive summer entrepreneurship training with accelerator partner VentureWell, seed funding, and living stipends to advance their solutions. This year’s Challenge winners include teams developing new and innovative technologies, including next-generation AI-based lip-reading technology to help aphonic individuals; a smart mask that pioneers continuous, accurate vital monitoring in waiting rooms and emergency settings; and an interactive web-based decision support tool that uses AI to calculate flood risks for individual properties.

Through the partnership, HBCUFI and UNCF will partner with Verizon and CGI U to ensure there is engagement with and representation of HBCU students throughout the Verizon Forward for Good Challenge. Additionally, they will be providing support to HBCU teams throughout the application period, exposing and introducing them to the principles of design thinking and entrepreneurship. This partnership builds on a commitment made last year by Verizon and CGI U to diversify the voices in the next generation of innovators, with a specific focus on engaging students at HBCUs, Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and community colleges.

“We’re proud to join forces with Verizon and CGI U on this impactful initiative that empowers entrepreneurs to develop community-changing businesses,” said Marlon Evans, President, HBCUFI. “This partnership directly aligns with our commitment to bridge the wealth gap within key areas in desperate need of systemic reform that technology can help enable.”

“By partnering with HBCUFI and UNCF, we’re able to support and cultivate the next generation of diverse innovators who are interested in leveraging next gen technology, like 5G, to develop solutions that address society’s biggest challenges,” said Carrie Hughes, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Verizon. “Through this partnership, we are able to reach more entrepreneurs and provide resources to ensure their success.”

“Students in the CGI U community are tackling urgent challenges in their communities and across the world, and our partnership with Verizon helps equip them with resources to develop innovative solutions,” said Kevin Thurm, CEO, Clinton Foundation. “HBCUs are cultivating the next generation of changemakers, and this new partnership with the HBCU Founders Initiative and the United Negro College Fund will help us expand the reach of the CGI U community and the Forward for Good Challenge to support these student leaders.”

If you are an HBCU student who is interested in participating in the challenge and receiving personalized help with your application click here.

Media Contact
Maggey Hoffmann
Email: [email protected]

Clinton Foundation Press Office
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About the HBCU Founders Initiative
Launched by Nex Cubed, The HBCU Founders Initiative is a nonprofit organization that supports HBCU students and alumni along their entrepreneurial journey, encouraging them to pursue solutions that close the racial wealth gap ranging from increasing access to healthcare, education, and financial services.

From the ideation stage to the investment stage and beyond, the HBCU Founders Initiative offers programs, events, resources, and a vast network committed to supporting HBCU founders pursuing entrepreneurship. To date, over 350 students and alumni from over 50 HBCUs have participated in the HBCU Founders Initiative.

About the United Negro College Fund
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. UNCF institutions and other HBCUs are highly effective, awarding nearly 20% of African American baccalaureate degrees. 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.

About the Clinton Foundation
Building on a lifetime of public service, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation on the simple belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed, everyone has a responsibility to act, and we all do better when we work together. For nearly two decades, those values have energized the work of the Foundation in overcoming complex challenges and improving the lives of people across the United States and around the world.

As an operating foundation, we work on issues directly or with strategic partners from the business, government, and nonprofit sectors to create economic opportunity, improve public health, and inspire civic engagement and service. Our programs are designed to make a real difference today while serving as proven models for tomorrow. The goal of every effort is to use available resources to get better results faster – at the lowest possible cost.

We firmly believe that when diverse groups of people bring resources together in the spirit of true cooperation, transformative ideas will emerge to drive life-changing action.

Learn more at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter @ClintonFdn.

About Citizen Verizon
Citizen Verizon is the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement. Citizen Verizon empowers Verizon to deliver on its mission to move the world forward through action by expanding digital access and resources, protecting the climate, and ensuring people have the skills needed for jobs of the future. Through Citizen Verizon, and the key pillars of Digital Inclusion, Climate Protection and Human Prosperity, the company is committed to providing 10 million youths with digital skills training by 2030, supporting 1 million small businesses with resources to help them thrive in the digital economy by 2030, achieving carbon neutrality in its operations by 2035, and preparing 500,000 individuals for jobs of the future by 2030. Learn more at   

SOURCE HBCU Founders Initiative

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