The Ossie Davis Scholars Program United Negro College Fund

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) lives up to the ideal expressed in its universally recognized motto—“A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste”—by enabling students to attend college and get the education they need through the management of programs that provide scholarships, internships, academic support, and mentoring. The Ossie Davis Scholars Program’s contribution to the UNCF eases the financial barriers to higher education and makes higher education accessible for deserving young men and women who will contribute significantly as competent and conscientious Americans in the workforce and in our society.

The Ossie Davis Scholars Program was endowed by his friends to honor the legacy of Mr. Davis, the renowned writer, actor, activist, director, and producer. He was a well-read thinker, communicator, humorist, and humanist who influenced society and cared deeply about the world, the people, and his family. Mr. Davis’ passion for education and his commitment to young people continues through the renewable scholarship for African American incoming freshman attending a four-year Historically Black College or University (HBCU).* More than $54,000.00 in scholarship funds have been distributed since 2010.

Thanks to the generous contributors to the Ossie Davis Endowment Campaign for believing that “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”®

Scholarship Award Consideration

For scholarship award consideration, applicants must demonstrate the ability and desire to use artistic activism to proactively address the concerns of humanity. Applicants must upload an essay and letters of recommendation to the online application portal by the posted deadline.
If selected, applicants will be invited to a semi-final round, which requires the submission of an electronic portfolio of accomplishments and goals. The portfolio should reflect knowledge of Mr. Davis and his contribution to humanity, and it should contain text, video, pictures, drawings or any other visual evidence of involvement with the arts as activism. A narrative description of the portfolio must also be included.
Finalists will be designated as Ossie Davis Scholars who will receive a need-based scholarship award which is renewable for up to 4 years, provided that students continue to meet the scholarship criteria. For renewal consideration, students will have to re-apply with an updated portfolio each year.

Essay Question:

Based on your major, talents, and skill, please demonstrate your ability and desire to use artistic activism to proactively address the concerns of humanity.


Ife N Madzimoyo – 2010

School: Bennett College, Greensboro, NC
Major: African American Studies

Career Goal/Aspiration: Attend graduate school; work as an international photojournalist, a teacher and a cultural anthropologist.
Graduated: May, 2014
Term of Scholarship: 8 semesters

Hayden Amaro – 2011

School: Western Washington University, Bellingham,WA
Major: Journalism and Political Science

Career Goal/Aspiration: Pursue a career as a writer for a major news outlet such as Newsweek Magazine or one of the many NPR programs.
Graduated: May, 2014
Term of Scholarship: 8 semesters

Deidra Shores – 2016

School: Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA
Major: Mass Media Arts
Career Goal/Aspiration: Become a voice to the Community to help people tell their stories through Broadcast Journalism.
Anticipated Graduation: May, 2019
Term of Scholarship: 3 semesters

Karechia Wallace-Warthon – 2016

School: Spelman College, Atlanta, GA
Major: Political Science
Career Goal/Aspiration: plan to go to Yale Law School to earn Juris Degree and become Corporate Lawyer.
Anticipated Graduation: May, 2019
Term of Scholarship: 3 semesters

*Students who attend or transfer to non-HBCUs and students who self-report as other than African American may also be considered.