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For a second year, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey has kicked off its national HBCU Old Fashioned Challenge initiative to raise funds for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). This year’s challenge will see the company work to raise $1.4 million, amounting to one full in-state tuition scholarship per accredited HBCU.
Kicking off on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 15), the HBCU Old Fashioned Challenge will run through the Juneteenth holiday, Tuesday, June 19.
HBCU Old Fashioned Challenge Helps Change Lives
Through the Old Fashioned Challenge, Uncle Nearest’s goal is to not only raise money for these institutions but to shine a light on how HBCUs, which make up less than 3% of colleges, have a proven record of removing barriers to degree completion and postgraduate success, with their graduates making up 50 percent of Black doctors and Black attorneys, 40 percent.
“Before we sold our first bottle of Uncle Nearest, we were already funding the college education of Nearest Green’s descendants,” says Fawn Weaver, founder and CEO of Uncle Nearest.
A 2023 report released by the U.S. Department of Education revealed that HBCUs in 16 states have been underfunded by nearly $13 billion over the past 30 years; this includes Tennessee, Uncle Nearest’s home state.
Ensuring her company addresses this concern, Weaver says, “Every semester, writing those checks brought me immense joy, knowing the significant impact they would have on each student’s life. This same feeling resurfaced when I began writing tuition checks to HBCUs for our Old Fashioned Challenge. It’s an honor, and my hope is that we can continue this tradition annually with the checks growing larger as the Uncle Nearest whiskey family expands.”
Uncle Nearest Whiskey Family Can Help Make an Impact
Fans of Uncle Nearest and participate in the HBCU Old Fashioned Challenge by:
- Ordering an Uncle Nearest Old Fashioned at participating bars and restaurants, where one dollar will be donated per cocktail ordered
- Purchasing any bottle of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey at participating online and brick-and-mortar retail stores, where one dollar will be donated per bottle purchased
- Purchasing an Old Fashioned Bundle through ReserveBar, where two dollars will be donated for every bundle purchased
- Submitting a photo of a homemade Uncle Nearest Old Fashioned where one dollar will be donated per entry*
“Uncle Nearest gives a lot, with ‘pulling as we climb’ being part of our DNA right from the start,” says Victoria Eady Butler, great-great-granddaughter of Nearest Green and four-time Master Blender of the Year.
Butler continues, “But this challenge is something special ’cause we’re inviting our whiskey family to join us in giving back. Seeing the excitement from them and our thousands of retail, restaurant, bar, hotel, and airline partners across the country even before this year’s challenge kicked off, well, that lets me know we’ve started something extraordinary. To our whiskey family and partners everywhere, thank y’all!”
For more information on the HBCU Old Fashioned Challenge, including a list of participating bars, restaurants, and retailers, and to follow along on the road to $1.4 million raised, please visit the initiative’s website.