"A mind is a terrible thing to waste"
In 1972, the Ad Council launched the Supporting Minority Education campaign to encourage Americans to support the United Negro College Fund—and today, 60,000 minority students attend college with support from the UNCF. Driven by the powerful slogan "A Mind is a Terrible Thing To Waste," the Ad Council’s partnership with the UNCF has helped raise more than $2.2 billion over the past four decades—supporting more than 350,000 college-bound minority students.
Yet a persistent gap in education remains between African Americans and other students. The barriers these students face? The high cost of college and the lack of financial assistance are the major reasons why young African Americans don’t enter or complete college.
But new research shows that African American students who receive UNCF scholarships are twice as likely to graduate college within six years, compared to those who did not. To inspire continued support from current and potential donors, the Ad Council and the UNCF launched the “Better Futures” campaign, featuring the first evolution of the iconic tagline: “A Mind is A Terrible Thing to Waste, But a Wonderful Thing to Invest In.”
The campaign recasts donations to the UNCF as similar to investments in the stock market. Economists helped develop an algorithm to show the social return on a UNCF donation, including the impact on earnings, crime rates, and health.
Y&R created new television, radio, print, outdoor and digital public service advertisements that feature poignant stories from real students who have personally benefited from the UNCF. For example, Sydney is working to become the first member of her family to graduate college and declares, “I’m your dividend.”
Campaign creative encourages viewers to visit invest.uncf.org to see how investments in the UNCF—and the students it supports—translate into a direct social value for all Americans.