Monday, June 17, 2013

New UNCF Branding Swaps Community Activist Language For Wall Street Lingo

The message of the UNCF's new #BetterFutures campaign "is straightforward. Public service announcements...feature stories of real students who speak about their college aspirations. "My name is Sidney, and I am your dividend," one young woman says, holding up a stock-market ticker." - "United Negro College Fund Updates Its Slogan, and Its Brand," The Chronicle of Higher Education

The United Negro College Fund has adopted a new message for potential donors: Think of students as investments.

Articles on NPR and in the Chronicle of Higher Education explore how the UNCF is modernizing their iconic tagline - "A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste," by adding "But a Wonderful Thing to Invest In." While ending any sentence in a preposition bothers the writer in me, I'm wondering if their intended target audience - younger, wealthier donors - will be engaged by their new "Invest in Better Futures" campaign.

Even though I'm annoyed that the Chronicle seems to have misspelled Sydni's name in their article, check out their coverage and NPR's if you get a chance. The Chronicle piece has interesting stats about how the UNCF spent four years developing their new campaign based on research from their UNCF Case Study / Stock for Social Change (video below) like $10 invested in education for African-American students today will produce $102 worth of benefits for society.

The NPR piece includes has some early UNCF ads (like one below directed by Spike Lee with a voice-over from Samuel Jackson) and asks readers about how they'd solicit donations for the UNCF. Some of the campaign suggestions in the comments are creative.

I'm a fan of good storytelling. I'm not sure if the new ad I watched tells a story, but it does offer a different perspective on philanthropy based in return on investment. I guess the ad is not aimed at me because while I still consider myself young, I'm definitely not wealthy, so I'm not in their target audience. 

I'd love to hear your ideas. Or just your feedback on what you think of their new campaign.

For those who don't know much about the UNCF, here's a bit of primer from the articles: One of the 150 largest philanthropies in the country, the UNCF is the recipient of $150-$160 million a year in donations. More than half of the students who receive scholarship money from the UNCF are the first in their families to attend college, and most come from families with incomes of less than $25,000 a year. The organization founded in 1944 aims to expand its 300,000-donor base to hand out more scholarships and grants to minority students, especially as college costs rise and many historically black colleges and universities face financial struggles.

On an odd note, watching their new ad (below), I noticed the featured student walking past an urban art mural, "Never Give Up," that is in my neighborhood. Life can be so surprising sometimes. Keep on Enjoyceinglife. It's rarely boring. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What is the best fictional biography you've ever read?

What is the best fictional biography you've ever read? 

I’m doing some research and would love suggestions.

The best I've read so far is “Douglass’ Women” by Jewell Parker Rhodes. Phenomenal!

So what’s yours? Thanks for whatever recommendations you can provide.

And keep on Enjoyceinglife - with a good book - whenever you get a chance!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My Daughter Gave Me the Middle Finger

"Mommy, what does this mean?" I looked in the back seat and my rising second grader was giving me the middle finger. I calmly replied, "It's like a curse word that means forget you, or I don't care about you. It's not nice and don't do it again."

I thought for a second and added, "I'm so glad you asked me what it meant. Did someone do that to you?"

"A girl at camp told me it meant God is bad," she explained.

"Well, I've never heard that before. But like I said, it's not nice, so don't do it again."

"Okay," she said. I watched her pondering my response. A minute later she announced, "I don't believe her, Mommy. I believe you."

And then she segued right into sharing how yet another red robin had landed on a tree outside her bedroom window.

Yesterday, she snuck some candy (stuffed in a wallet placed under her tunic and in her leggings!) to camp. When I caught her (walking funny), I initially defaulted to the standard punishment - no doing whatever it was she wanted to do that evening (bike riding, iPad playing, TV watching), and writing a few sentences about what she did wrong, why it was wrong, and the better choice she'd make next time.

As she was writing, another approach crossed my mind - one that was informed by my own misbehavior 35 years ago. I regaled her with my criminal past: the story of how I was caught by my mother at about the same age stealing one Now & Later candy out of the pack from a grocery store. I hid it in my sandal. Of course, it fell out while we were walking and I suffered dire consequences.

The take-away for my teary-eyed child was the importance of trust and integrity, and how deception is the cousin of lying. I could tell I made a good decision about my reaction to her infraction because of her genuine interest in my story and her verbal response: "I will never, ever, ever, ever do it again."

She's clever and crafty, like her mama. So I don't necessarily believe that she'll never dabble in the untruths or misrepresentations again. But it won't be in the same way. She's learning about values. And that's a win in my parenting book.

Lessons for the last two days: Every question from your child can be a learning opportunity for you both.  And, utilize the best approach to get the lesson learned.

Keep on Enjoyceinglife. It's rewarding.

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