American Express, UNCF partner on ‘Building Better Futures’

Oct 25, 2022

Glenda McNeal of American Express.



This is a significant step in the path to college and early career success, said Glenda McNeal, president, Enterprise Strategic Partnerships, American Express.

On Oct. 21, a briefing was held with representatives from American Express and UNCF (United Negro College Fund) to further discuss a launching partnership between the two companies. The conference was held via ZOOM.

“We hope to build the bridge between the period where young adults can confidently go into their careers, hopefully alleviating some of the stress of not having the funds,” McNeal said.

Under the partnership, American Express Foundation and UNCF will award 300 “Building Better Futures” grants of $5,000 each to students in their senior year at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) over the next three years. These grants will support students as they look to transition into the next phase of their careers after graduation.

The application period for the first 100 grants opened Oct. 25 and remains open through Jan. 18, 2023.

The donation of $2 million that is a part of the partnership will also bolster UNCF’s existing K-12 initiative program, which helps parents, community leaders and students in underrepresented communities to prepare students for college.

“There's a lot of ambition from parents and we hope to empower many more families and we want to be a resource for them,” McNeal said.

The idea of the initiative came from asking how to empower students as they move into a career and what is it that they really need, said Sekou Biddle, vice president, advocacy and student professional development programs for UNCF.

In addition to the donation, American Express is also partnering with UNCF to host webinars and recruiting events.

“There is tremendous value in an HBCU education,” McNeal said. “Financial support is so important.”

The application link is


American Express is a globally integrated payments company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. The American Express Foundation oversees community giving for the organization across three areas: Backing Equal Futures, Backing Small and Backing Low-Carbon Communities.

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. 

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