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CER & The Walton-UNCF-K-12 Education Fellowship – A Partnership Worth Celebrating

Successful organizations pride themselves on having strong partnerships. At the Center for Education Reform, we are particularly proud of our relationship with The Walton-UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship Program – a leadership and talent development initiative aimed at building a robust pipeline of high-achieving African-Americans engaged in education reform in America.

The United Negro College Fund (UNFC) is the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for students of color, awarding $100 million to more than 10,000 students annually. In this collaboration The Walton Foundation, UNFC recruits juniors from historically black colleges and universities to participate in the program and serve eight-week- long paid internships with innovative partners in K-12 education located in the District of Columbia, New York, Boston, New Orleans, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Memphis, and Nashville.

CER founder Jeanne Allen first became aware of the program at a book-signing reception for education reform advocate Dr. Howard Fuller, when she asked UNCF’s Senior Director of Student Professional Programs Taliah Givens “Why don’t we have a fellow?” Following that encounter, Taliah worked quickly to put a fellow in place, and, since then, CER has hosted four UNCF fellows over the past three years.

The 2017 fellows, Najma Calhoun and Janeal Hightower Fordham, had the opportunity to deepen their exposure to education reform by working in a variety of functional capacities including policy research, media relations, and fundraising. Their capstone project included conducting research and writing interview summaries for an upcoming publication on charter school over-regulation. They also participated in our “Salute to Charters” event where they had the chance to engage with charter school leaders from around the country and meet Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

As the UNCF recruits candidates for its newest group of 34 juniors, CER looks forward to welcoming new fellows this summer. According to Director of Administration, Leonora Cravotta, “The UNCF fellows who joined us last summer were hard workers with strong writing and analytical skills and a desire to learn. They were great additions to our office and we’re very excited about hosting members of the 2018 class.”

For more information about hosting a UNCF fellow, please email waltonfellowship@uncf.org or visit https://www.uncf.org/walton.