Lance Gross hosts UNCF’s Empower Me Tour stop here

The UNCF Empower Me Tour (EMT) Presented by Wells Fargo (a free, traveling college-and career-readiness road show sponsored by UNCF [United Negro College Fund], the country’s largest and most effective minority education organization) will feature television entertainer Lance Gross as host for the tour’s first 2014-15 stop on Saturday, September 20.

Celebrating its seventh year, the UNCF Empower Me Tour was created in partnership with Wells Fargo to prepare students to go to and through college and inspire them to take control of their future by using education as the foundation for achieving their goals and dreams.

The Nashville EMT Stop will feature Gross, star of Tyler Perry’s award-winning House of Payne, and graduate of Historically Black College/University (HBCU) Howard University, as a tour co-host. Lance won two consecutive NAACP Image Awards in 2008 and 2009 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his House of Payne role.

“I’m both honored and excited to participate in the UNCF Empower Me Tour. As a firm believer of the strength of higher education, it is a necessity to reach the youth and lead them in this upward direction,” said Gross. “Education is the gateway to achieving their dreams and is an important tool in paving the road to success. To represent the UNCF, to support, motivate and inspire the youth, is an investment for generations to come.”

For the Nashville Tour stop, educators and entrepreneurs will share their personal educational journeys with participating high school and college students. Attendees will participate in the Empower Me Tour Zone, an interactive experience for students, parents and educators. The zone provides an opportunity to engage with college recruiters and to learn about scholarship opportunities. The Empower Me Tour will also provide students and their parents with a full day of exhibits, college and career workshops, and engaging panel discussions with special guests and celebrities.

“We are excited to bring UNCF’s Empower Me Tour Presented by Wells Fargo to Nashville,” said W. Imara Canady, UNCF regional development director. “The Tour provides essential tools for our area’s youth and supporting families to succeed in their academic pursuits, and transition into adulthood. In addition to solid academic training, it is essential that students are trained as financially responsible citizens. Our EMT workshops and hands-on seminars offer opportunities for participants to invest in themselves and their futures. We look forward to a continued partnership with Wells Fargo and supporting sponsors in bringing our students to and through their collegiate journey, and beyond.”

The day’s events will include presentations from Aaron Paxton Arnold, lifestyle expert and founder of MusicIsMyBusiness; political strategist Valeisha Butterfield-Jones; author and motivational speaker Dr. Alex O. Ellis; Kevin Malonson of Education is Freedom; and John W. Stewart of the C.A.R.E. Foundation. Prior tnp9iour guests and panelists include actors Tatyana Ali and Hill Harper, journalist and social activist Jeff Johnson, and Dr. Randal Pinkett, winner of the fourth season of NBC’s The Apprentice with Donald Trump.

“Wells Fargo is excited to team up again with UNCF and to bring the UNCF Empower Me Tour to Nashville,” said Gigi Dixon, director of Strategic Partnerships for Wells Fargo. “We know that education is the great equalizer in our country, and it is one of our passions to ensure that students have access to higher education. This tour makes the possibility of college real to young people across the nation, by providing them and their parents with information, tools and resources that help them make informed decisions about their future. In addition, we’re working to help students prepare for the job market once they graduate, and are connecting them with Wells Fargo recruiters, and providing training for the interview process.”

“We are thrilled to have the Empower Me Tour make a stop in Nashville,” said Stephen Norris, Wells Fargo area president for Tennessee. “We love being a part of this great city and we are always looking for ways to serve our local community. Our team members are excited about getting involved in this tour and helping students reach their goals.”

Wells Fargo’s presence in the Nashville area includes 11 bank stores and nearly 400 team members who serve customers through banking, investments, mortgage, finance and more.

In 2013, the company invested more than $680,000 in grants to nonprofits across Tennessee and team members contributed more than 4,400 volunteer hours across the state.