Uncle Nearest’s HBCU Old Fashioned Challenge Returns to Raise $1.4M

Shelbyville, Tennessee-based Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey has announced the launch of its second annual HBCU Old Fashioned Challenge, a nationwide 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. The initiative kicked off on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and this year it will run through Juneteenth (June 19).

In 2023, it was widely reported that federal officials told 16 states that they have been underfunding their HBCUs by nearly $13 billion over the past 30 years, according to an analysis from the U.S. Department of Education. Tennessee – Uncle Nearest’s home state – underfunded its school’s land grants the most, according to the report. 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 of Black engineers and Black members of Congress, and 80 percent of Black judges.

“Before we sold our first bottle of Uncle Nearest, we were already funding the college education of Nearest Green’s descendants,” said Fawn Weaver, Founder and CEO of Uncle Nearest. “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.”

Now through June 19, 2024, the public can participate in the Uncle Nearest 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 to www.oldfashionedcocktail.com, 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,” said Victoria Eady Butler, great-great-granddaughter of Nearest Green and four-time Master Blender of the Year. “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 www.oldfashionedcocktail.com.

*Limited to one entry per email

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