February 25, 2014

Media Contact:

Joi Ridley
UNCF Communications


Inspiring youth to excel in academic, financial and personal responsibility

CHARLOTTE (February 25, 2014) – The UNCF Empower Me Tour Presented by Wells Fargo – a free, traveling college-and career-readiness road show sponsored by UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the country’s largest and most effective minority education organization – will feature entertainer Fonzworth Bentley and Charlotte media personality Tonya Rivens, as hosts for the Tour’s stop on Saturday, March 1, 2014.

Celebrating its sixth anniversary, the UNCF Empower Me Tour was created in partnership with Wells Fargo to prepare students to go to and through college and inspire them to take control of their future by using education as the foundation for achieving their goals and dreams.

The Empower Me Tour will feature Fonzworth Bentley, host of BET’s “Lift Every Voice” program, and graduate of Morehouse College, as a Tour co-host. “I am the fourth generation in my family to graduate from one of the 37 UNCF member institutions,” Bentley said. “Therefore, this is a very special honor for me to represent the values and goals of an organization that has given so much to not only the success of my family, but for thousands of families throughout this country and the world.”

The Charlotte stop will also include Tonya Rivens, radio and television personality, as co-host. Rivens is host of “Sunday Morning Inspirations with Tonya Rivens” (WPEG-FM – Power 98) and afternoon traffic reporter on WBTV, Charlotte’s CBS affiliate. As a native Carolinian and graduate of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, her commitment to the North Carolina community is undeniable. Through her passion for giving back, Rivens continues to share her talents with the Central Carolina community.

“My mom worked two jobs as a single parent to send four children to college. Like most parents, her desire was for her children to have a better life one day,” Rivens said. “My college degree has opened many doors. I am humbled to support an organization that recognizes the value of higher education and one that sows into the lives of young people.”

For the Charlotte Tour stop, educators and entrepreneurs will share their personal educational journeys with participating high school and college students. Attendees will participate in the Empower Me Tour Zone, an interactive experience for students, parents and educators. The Zone provides an opportunity to engage with college recruiters and to learn about scholarship and internship opportunities. The Empower Me Tour will also provide students and their parents with a full day of exhibits, college and career workshops, and engaging panel discussions with special guests and celebrities.

The day’s events are moderated by Tish Norman, Founder and CEO, Transforming Leaders Now, Inc. and Charlotte speakers and workshop leaders will include TV Personality and Entrepreneur Tai Beauchamp; motivational speaker Dr. Alex O. Ellis; Michael E. Parker, founder of You Are a CEO; and music executive Amir Windom. Prior Tour guests and panelists include actors Tatyana Ali and Hill Harper, journalist and social activist Jeff Johnson, and Dr. Randal Pinkett, winner of the fourth season of NBC’s The Apprentice with Donald Trump.

“We are excited to bring UNCF’s Empower Me Tour Presented by Wells Fargo to the Charlotte area,” stated Marilyn Baldwin Richards, UNCF Area Development Director. “The Tour provides essential tools for our area’s youth and supporting families to succeed in their academic pursuits, and transition into adulthood. In addition to solid academic training, it is essential that students are trained as financially-responsible citizens. Our EMT workshops and hands-on seminars offer opportunities for participants to invest in themselves and their futures. We look forward to a continued partnership with Wells Fargo and supporting sponsors in bringing our students to and through their collegiate journey, and beyond.”

Wells Fargo has 88 bank stores, 214 ATMs and more than 20,000 team members in the Charlotte region.  In 2013, the company invested more than $10.6 million in non-profit organizations and schools in Charlotte and Wells Fargo Volunteers gave 123,567 hours of their time in the local community. Within the past three years, Wells Fargo has contributed $75,000 to UNCF initiatives in the Charlotte region.

“Wells Fargo is excited to team up again with UNCF and to bring the UNCF Empower Me Tour back to Charlotte,” said Gigi Dixon, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Wells Fargo. “We know that education is the great equalizer in our country, and it is one of our passions to ensure that students have access to higher education. This tour makes the possibility of college real to young people across the nation, by providing them and their parents with information, tools and resources that help them make informed decisions about their future.”

The UNCF Empower Me Tour Presented by Wells Fargo has visited St. Louis, New Orleans, Dallas, the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Detroit, Memphis and Atlanta along its 2013 Tour, with its final stop planned for Chicago (March 21, 2014).

In addition to Presenting Sponsor Wells Fargo, Supporting Sponsors of the UNCF Empower Me Tour’s Charlotte stop include: Procter & Gamble, US Marine Corps, FedEx, General Motors and American Airlines. Education Partners: Education Is Freedom, US Department of Education Federal Student Aid, Gates Millennium Scholars Program, City Year, Inc. and Teach For America.

For more information on the Empower Me Tour and to register for FREE, visit

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, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness.  UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 20 percent 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 900 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.5 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, and the Internet (, and has offices in more than 35 countries to support the bank’s customers who conduct business in the global economy. With more than 270,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States.  Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 25 on Fortune’s 2013 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially.  Wells Fargo perspectives are also available

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