Actor-comedian Anthony Anderson, co-star of NBC's "Guys With Kids," will host the 34th annual UNCF An Evening of Stars® Educating our Future extravaganza – a nationally televised variety show.
The show – presented by Target – premieres nationwide on Saturday, Jan. 26 (check local listings for stations and times) and airs on BET Networks on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 at 9 p.m. CST.
Here is the idea: focus public attention on America's need for more African-American college graduates and the United Negro College Fund's work getting students to and through college.
The show features Grammy-Award winner and founder of the New Look Foundation, Usher Raymond, presenting a four-year college scholarship to Milwaukee high school senior, Ammon Lyle. Additionally, superstars Steve Harvey, Kevin Hart and Chaka Khan will present scholarships to deserving college and college-bound students.
It won't stop there. The star-studded lineup features performances and appearances by some of the hottest names in entertainment including Chaka Khan, Yolanda Adams, Charlie Wilson, Keyshia Cole, Trey Songz, Tyrese Gibson, Melanie Fiona, Eric Benet, Tracee Ellis Ross and Keenan Ivory Wayans.
"I hope everybody tunes in and donates from the bottom of their hearts and the bottom of their pockets," said Anderson.
"Unfortunately, over 60,000 students apply for scholarships and financial aid every year and UNCF is able to award scholarships to just 15,000 who need help going to college. That's why I'm a part of what UNCF is doing and I'm here for the long run."
UNCF President and CEO Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., said UNCF is delighted that such high-powered stars have agreed to "make our cause their cause" while helping to introduce UNCF's "rising stars – the high-achieving students who, thanks to UNCF, are getting the education they need to compete in the 21st century economy.
"The country is facing a crisis in African-American education, and UNCF, BET and our galaxy of rising and established stars are determined to do something about it."
BET Networks Chairman and CEO Debra Lee, said, "Historically black colleges and universities hold a special and important role in the African-American community and we are honored to help raise funds and awareness to support the education of the next generation of leading African-American professionals."
UNCF, the country's largest minority education organization, supports the education of more than 60,000 students each year. A recent study by UNCF's Patterson Research Institute showed that UNCF's 38 member historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) out-perform many non-HBCUs at enrolling and graduating low-income students.
UNCF's largest scholarship program, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, has a 90 percent graduation rate among its 13,000 low-income minority students, a rate significantly higher than the national college graduation rate.
This year;s show is made possible by Target, presenting sponsor of UNCF An Evening of Stars®; national sponsor McDonald's, official and major sponsors American Airlines, Wells Fargo, Buick, AT&T, the U.S Army and Anheuser-Busch; media partner, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, and weekend sponsor Caesars Entertainment.