American Airlines Sponsors United Negro College Fund’s Fundraising Concert For 20th Year: Annual Evening of Stars Concert Pays Tribute To Stevie Wonder And Supports Higher Education For African Americans

FORT WORTH, Texas – Continuing a partnership of nearly 30 years, and for the 20th consecutive year, American Airlines will serve as the official airline and sponsor of The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) An Evening of Stars celebration. The televised special promotes awareness of the importance of minority higher education and celebrates the achievements of UNCF’s academic institutions, students, alumni and supporters. The special is scheduled to air nationally on CBS on Jan. 7-8.

An Evening of Stars will also pay tribute to the legendary artist, Stevie Wonder, and feature tribute performances by Yolanda Adams, Toni Braxton and Donnie McClurkin. The telecast will feature American Airlines employees in over 40 cities, representing all corporate workgroups, when the show cuts away to local programming. In addition, Debra Hunter Johnson, Vice President-Global Human Resources Services for American Airlines, will address viewers.

"American Airlines has a long history of involvement in the African American community and has consistently supported the UNCF’s mission to help thousands of young people receive a college education," said Hunter Johnson. "American Airlines has benefited through hiring and promoting talented employees who are graduates of UNCF member schools. Our dedicated employees continue to support An Evening of Stars in more than 40 local markets — as well as other UNCF-sponsored events such as local walk-a-thons, fundraisers, National Alumni Council Conference and member school fundraisers."

“Having attended Clark-Atlanta University, a UNCF supported school, I am extremely proud to be an employee of American Airlines, where diversity is promoted and supported in our everyday business decisions and in the community,” said Lawonda Peoples, American Airlines Human Resources Specialist and a 19-year employee.

Founded in 1944, the United Negro College Fund is the nation’s oldest and most successful minority higher education assistance organization. Its mission is to enhance the quality of education by providing financial assistance to deserving students, raising operating funds for UNCF’s 39 member colleges and universities, and strengthening the capacity of minority-serving institutions through technical assistance. UNCF administers more than 450 scholarships and fellowships to students and faculty who attend UNCF member colleges and universities, other historically black colleges and universities and majority institutions throughout the country. In its 60-year history, UNCF has raised more than $2 billion to promote higher education achievement and has helped more than 300,000 students earn undergraduate and graduate degrees.

About American Airlines

American Airlines is the world’s largest airline. American, American Eagle and AmericanConnection ® serve 250 cities in over 40 countries with more than 3,900 daily flights. The combined network fleet numbers more than 1,000 aircraft. American’s award-winning Web site,, provides users with easy access to check and book fares, plus personalized news, information and travel offers. American Airlines is a founding member of the oneworld sm Alliance, which brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business, enabling them to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own. Together, its members serve more than 600 destinations in over 135 countries and territories. American Airlines, Inc. and American Eagle Airlines, Inc. are subsidiaries of AMR Corporation. AmericanAirlines, American Eagle, AmericanConnection, and AAdvantage are registered trademarks of American Airlines, Inc. (NYSE: AMR)

American Airlines Vice President-Global Human Resources Services, Debra Hunter Johnson commented that the passing of Lou Rawls, a long time supporter of UNCF, is a tremendous loss for all of us. James Haskell Mayo, II, Vice President-Western Regional Office of the United Negro College Fund said, "The United Negro College Fund laments the passing of Lou Rawls, who established in 1979 the Lou Rawls Parade of Stars, now known as An Evening of Stars. American Airlines, our oldest national sponsor of An Evening of Stars, was there at the beginning contributing $250,000 in its first year."

Examples of American’s involvement in the African American Community

American’s commitment to the African American community includes, but is not limited to:

  • American Airlines volunteer pilots and flight attendants flew the first relief mission into New Orleans after Katrina.
  • More than 500 American Airlines and American Eagle employees donated their time to support the Shelter From the Storm fundraising event for hurricane victims using one of the company’s reservations centers.
  • AAdvantage members donated more than 100 million miles to the Hurricane Relief Fund, enabling hurricane victims to travel.
  • American is the only airline with a dedicated African American Manager handling communications, advertising, and promotional campaigns specifically designed for African Americans.
  • American Airlines is the only airline with a Specialty Sales force specifically designed for diverse groups including African Americans.
  • The African American Employee Resource Group is actively involved in many communities and charities across the world, using the size and scope of American Airlines to impact numerous communities positively.
  • The company supports the hiring of diverse candidates and partners with important organizations such as UNCF to promote the educational and economic advancement of African Americans.
  • American’s Supplier Diversity Program was launched in 1989, and the company has spent more than $2.5 billion with women and minority-owned businesses.

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