Inside Seven
Current Issue: September 2014
Morris Brown is congratulated as the first place winner in the basketball hoop tournament by Stephanie Jones, left, and Deborah Robertson, right.

by  Jeanne Bonfilio
Issue Date: 06/2007

A fun and successful fundraiser!


Recent multiple fundraising activities for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) have brought out the team spirit among supportive Caltrans employees and friends who have helped to raise educational funds as well as an awareness of this worthy organization.


This is also the 25th anniversary of the UNCF Walk for Education in the Los Angeles area.  This year, about 2,500 walkers raised over $300,000.  As for Caltrans District 7, a goal was set to top last year’s donations of $2,000 – and this year has already exceeded $2,600!  This is the 7th year of the District’s involvement in this worthy cause. 


Since 1944, the UNCF has provided educational opportunities to deserving minority students.  The results are impressive.  UNCF raised over $2.5 billion and supported more than 350,000 students in their aspirations to receive a college education.  UNCF also supports minority students at many schools that are not historically black.  However, UNCF directly supports 39 private historically black colleges and universities (HBCU).  HBCUs remain an important way for an African American, or student of any race, to receive a high quality education. 


Deborah Robertson, Deputy District Director for External Affairs and a member of the UNCF Executive Advisory Board for the Los Angeles area, further explained that, “A lot of people are not aware that while UNCF’s primary mission is to raise funds for historically black colleges, it also provides scholarships for students from various backgrounds with socio-economic hardships and barriers, who may apply for scholarships that can be used at other universities or institutions.  The UNCF is also the contract administrator for the Gates Millennium Scholarship.  Those scholarships may be used at a college of the student’s choice.”


The employee efforts behind this year’s fundraiser, which included the Walk for Education, a basketball hoop competition, bake sales, tamale sales and shoe sales, have been outstanding and phenomenal.  “As a District, we are involved in the community and we feel education is important; and employees have been willing to participate and get involved,” Robertson said. 


One special and well-attended morale-booster was the inaugural hoop basketball tournament.  Well over 70 entries were received and over $700 was donated for this one event alone.  More funds were raised at the tamale sales, shoe sales and bake sales – where a percentage of the proceeds were donated to the UNCF.  The hoop basketball tournament was so much fun and successful that plans are being considered for a tournament in the fall and possibly semi-finals to build momentum for a final tournament.  Also being considered is a golf putting competition and other fun and exciting events that employees could either participate in themselves or cheer on their friends and co-workers.


In addition, Caltrans exhibited involvement and commitment to the community by participating in the UNCF Walk for Education, led by Director Douglas R. Failing and Yueh-Shen Failing.  “The Walk for Education goes along with Caltrans' dedication to mentoring,” added Robertson.  “The District’s mentoring program is partnered with Franklin High School and their students could compete for scholarships through the UNCF.”


Robertson said she would like to give special thanks the members of the UNCF steering committee, headed by Stephanie Jones, acting Chief, Governmental Affairs, who made the fundraiser such a success.  They are: Labell Washington, Darryl Mays, Ozell Wilson, Melanie Bradford, Barbara Levise, Sandra Elattar, Rochelle Brown, Joyce Gresham, Eusebio Branom, Carmen Roberts, Cheryl Kizer, Raashan Bernard, Marcia Graves, Nikita Peterson, Cheryl Powell, Morris Brown, Joann O'Leary and Daria Simolke.


 Thank you to everyone who supported this year’s UNCF fundraisers.


Norman Hui, left, showed his talents by placing second in the hoop tournament.  Stephanies Jones, right and Deborah Robertson, center, present his award. Not far behind Morris and Norman, placing third in the basketball competition was Marvin Daniels, center, as Stephanie Jones, left, and Deborah Robertson, right, offer congratulations. Members of the UNCF Steering Committee congratulate first place hoopster Morris Brown.  Left to right: Marcia Graves, Stephanie Jones, Nikita Petersen, Labelle Washington, Joyce Gresham, Ozelle Wilson, Sandra Elattar, Deborah Robertson and Melanie Bradford. Showing his talents as a multi-tasker, Mike Dean from GIS is not  satisfied shooting only one basketball at a time.