Fort Worth grandmothers establish UNCF scholarship in Tarrant County

For decades, the United Negro College Fund has helped families pay for college.

The historic African American charity currently helps North Texas families through its Dallas County office. But now, two Fort Worth grandmothers are on a fundraising mission to add Tarrant County to the UNCF landscape.

Shirley Pace and Dr. Arlene Barnett have quietly worked to raise the $100,000 required to establish Tarrant County as a permanently endowed UNCF scholarship region.

"The next step is the next hundred thousand and the next hundred thousand because endowments won't spin off a lot of money unless they're large enough to do so,” explained Barnett.

Then Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynthia Marshall got wind of their fundraising efforts, including their upcoming art exhibition and luncheon through a mutual friend. Marshall said she’s happy to help.

"I think all we can do is set our kids up with a good educational foundation, and they'll be set up for life,” Marshall said. “That’s why UNCF has been important in the Marshall household for many years and will continue to be important. I'm so excited about what's coming in the next couple of weeks."

What had been a quiet fundraising effort by two grandmothers will now hopefully translate into Tarrant County becoming a well-known UNCF scholarship provider.

“When you know what your grandchildren are facing, you can't just sit there and hope you'll have enough for tomorrow,” Barnett said.