NEW YORK—As part of Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative, Summer Search, Airbnb and UNCF today joined together with the first lady during her signature College Signing Day at New York City’s Harlem Armory. More than 4,000 students from across New York high schools participated.
This was the third annual College Signing Day that Obama has hosted to celebrate high school seniors choosing to pursue higher education at a professional training program, community college or four-year college or university.
College Signing Day continues her efforts to inspire young people to pursue their education past high school. Last October, the first lady launched Better Make Room, a public awareness campaign targeted at Generation Z, or young people ages 14-19, to celebrate education, change the national conversation, and give students the tools and resources they need to continue their education past high school.
In support of College Signing Day and as part of their commitment to improved access to higher education, Summer Search and UNCF will partner with Airbnb to provide students with access and free travel to important college events through Airbnb’s Open Homes Program. College visits are an important part of identifying the best-fit school for students to call home for four years, yet visiting a campus or attending orientation can be an unanticipated expense for students and parents with already limited financial resources. Additionally, this philanthropic program helps organizations across the globe provide individuals with free, temporary housing during a time of need, celebration or adventure.
“We are honored to join first lady Michelle Obama today as she celebrates the importance of higher education,” said Amy Saxton, CEO of Summer Search. “Our philosophy is in tune with the first lady’s initiative: by building strong partnerships with like-minded organizations such as Airbnb we help students cover oftentimes hidden costs. By partnering with Airbnb we are able to provide free accommodations for students and their families who are visiting colleges and attending freshman orientation weekends.”
Ninety percent of Summer Search students are the first in their families to attend college. Through this partnership, Airbnb is working with Summer Search to provide hundreds of Summer Search students and their families with travel coupons to book free Airbnb accommodations for these important milestones.
“We must remain diligent in investing in the success of our young people, thus securing better futures for generations and communities to come,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF. “As students are accepting college offers, UNCF is the bridge that makes it all possible. We are extremely excited to support the First Lady’s initiative and celebrate our burgeoning partnership with Airbnb to advance our important mission of getting students to and through college.”
“We are thrilled to be able to support Summer Search and UNCF families as they celebrate the achievements of their children on their paths to becoming college-educated leaders,” said Belinda Johnson, chief business affairs and legal officer at Airbnb. “Working with our generous hosts, Airbnb can offer them a place to belong and feel welcome as they experience a new chapter and memorable change in their lives.”
About Summer Search
Summer Search is a national college success nonprofit organization. We work with low-income high school students to transform what they believe is possible for themselves. We help students across the country develop the skills and character traits they need to become college-educated leaders who give back to their families and communities. Learn more at
Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world—online or from a mobile phone or tablet. Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 191 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions. Learn more at airbnb.com.
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, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF awards more than $100 million in scholarships annually and administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in.”®Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities. Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous news and updates, follow UNCF on Twitter @UNCF.