Without the Black College Fund, Moya Reid of Jamaica said she never would have been able to attend college in America.
She is a junior studying accounting at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas. The school is one of the 11 historically black colleges and universities supported by The United Methodist Church through its Black College Fund.
"International students pay more than local students, so that had a big impact. Without that scholarship, I would not be here today. It covers tuition and fees, even though that's just half of it, it's a great portion I would not have been able to cover myself," she said.
Reid credits the church and her family with putting her on the path to success.
"God doesn't give you what you don't work for. That's the generally accepted principle back home. You don't go to church one day and then forget about it until next Sunday — it's in every aspect of our lives. … We put it above everything else always," she said.
Attending an American college has helped Reid clear up some misconceptions that she had about the United States and gain a deeper understanding of its history, especially the experience of African-Americans.
"It's given me a new perspective on America, on black Americans, on how they view the world, each other and America. It has helped me understand how deep the racial tensions are in America," she said. "One of the classes that really opened my eyes was an African-American literature class. Some of the literature was based on the diaries of slaves and people who were just really struggling in the 1800s and the 1900s. And I think the way they struggled and how they were treated, it comes right back in the 21st century."
In addition to her studies, Reid is a leader on campus, serving as a peer learning coach for incoming freshman, a university ambassador, secretary of the school's chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants and treasurer of the International Students Association.
She says The United Methodist Church is building up tomorrow's leaders through the Black College Fund.
"When (the church) gives to the BCF it contributes to the black community as a whole and it eventually develops more black leaders in the U.S., which I think everyone can benefit from," she said. "In this life, I think you can work hard, but you still need people to pull you up along the way."
Reid hopes one day to be able to do that for the next generation.
"My goals for the future are to become a CPA and, eventually, I hope to open my own accounting firm in Jamaica — not just for profit, but to help create more jobs in Jamaica," she said.
"Becoming successful, and in the interim giving back — lifting as we climb motto — it helps you not only go up the ladder, but to help pull people up and include everyone around you. It's always important to go back. Giving back to the community is my greatest way of making a difference."
Julie Dwyer, general church content editor, United Methodist Communications
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Black College Fund provides financial support to maintain solid, challenging academic programs; strong faculties; and well-equipped facilities at 11 United Methodist-related historically black colleges and universities. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Black College Fund apportionment at 100 percent.