For Immediate Release
January 01, 2024
Contact Information

Roy Betts
UNCF Communications

(BPRW) UNCF Institute for Capacity Building Awarded 2023 Amazon Web Services IMAGINE Grant to Develop HBCUv

UNCF using world class cloud technology to create virtual learning and ecosystem built by and for HBCUs

(Black PR Wire) UNCF (United Negro College Fund) Institute for Capacity Building (ICB) is proud to announce that it has been awarded the 2023 Amazon Web Services (AWS) IMAGINE Grant.

The grant is open to registered 501(c) non-profit organizations in the United States and the United Kingdom who are using technology to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.

Working together with AWS, UNCF will use world class cloud technology to build and launch HBCUv™, a virtual learning platform and ecosystem built by and for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

UNCF’s HBCUv™ project, recognized in the Go Further, Faster category, stands out as a highly innovative endeavor that utilizes advanced cloud services. As part of this recognition, UNCF will receive up to $150,000 in unrestricted funding, up to $100,000 in AWS Promotional Credits, and access to AWS technical specialists. Proposals were evaluated based on factors such as project innovation, impact on mission-critical objectives and well-defined outcomes and milestones.

Ed Smith-Lewis, vice president of strategic partnerships and institutional programs, UNCF, expressed enthusiasm about this recognition.

“Receiving the 2023 AWS IMAGINE Grant is a significant achievement for UNCF. This grant will empower us to continue our mission of empowering students and strengthening HBCUs by harnessing the power of technology. We are excited to collaborate with AWS to advance our goals.”

The AWS IMAGINE Grant Program, now in its sixth year, provides essential resources to non-profit organizations that use cloud technology as a central tool to achieve their missions. As part of the program, AWS seeks proposals for big ideas on how to leverage technology in new and innovative ways to accelerate impact in local and global communities.

Since the launch of the IMAGINE Grant Program in 2018, AWS has awarded over $7 million in unrestricted funds, AWS Promotional Credits, and AWS training support to 90 non-profit organizations.

Previous winners are currently using AWS services to address critical challenges such as preventing service member and veteran suicide, identifying promising and affordable cancer treatments helping underrepresented individuals prepare for high-growth careers in technology and more.

Allyson Fryhoff, managing director of nonprofit and global health at AWS, shared her enthusiasm, stating, “I’m inspired by the ways in which our IMAGINE Grant winners are innovating with technology to improve lives worldwide. We look forward to collaborating with these organizations as they leverage cloud technology to scale their impact and help solve some of society’s biggest challenges.”

With over 85,000 non-profit organizations worldwide using AWS, the cloud service provider is committed to enabling non-profits of all sizes to overcome technological barriers and enhance the scale, performance and capabilities of their mission operations.

For more information about UNCF ICB, visit

For more information about the AWS IMAGINE Grant Program, visit


About UNCF

UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates

for the importance of minority education and college readiness. While totaling only 3% of all colleges and universities, UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 15% of bachelor’s degrees, 5% of master’s degrees, 10% of doctoral degrees and 19% of all STEM degrees earned by Black students in higher education. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 50,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.

About UNCF Institute for Capacity Building

UNCF Institute for Capacity Building partners with Black colleges and universities to propel a shared pursuit of student success, community advancement and the fight for racial-justice equity. UNCF is launching HBCUv, a virtual ecosystem where the Black college and university community flourishes together. To learn more about UNCF Institute for Capacity Building, please visit

Source: UNCF (United Negro College Fund)