Alumni Couple Creates Scholarship for African American Students

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Bernard ’91 and Loraine ’88 Felder are committed to the growth and development of African American students interested in attending UNC Charlotte. As a result, the couple created the Felder Charitable Fund Scholarship to provide $25,000 in renewable scholarship support to high school seniors who are members of a population historically underrepresented at the University. The $25,000 commitment is renewable every five years through 2035.

What motivated you to establish the Felder Charitable Fund Scholarship?

The desire to start a scholarship for African American students at UNC Charlotte has been on our minds the last decade or so. The desire is based on the simple premise that “If we can, then we should. And if not alumni, then who?” The motivation was looking, reading and seeing all the challenges faced by all of us, not just students, this year due to COVID-19 and making the decision to act now.

What advice do you have for future recipients of your scholarship?

Never waver from what brought you to where you are. Always trust who you are and what you believe to be most important. Find balance, never be afraid to be absolutely wrong or fail, never be afraid to seek help and always surround yourself with those far smarter than you are. And, as Bernard’s father has always said, and we’ve told our children, “Use your head for more than a hat rack.”

Why is it important for alumni to give back to the University?

As alumni, we are the best, active and accessible examples of the “product” that UNC Charlotte delivers to our communities. We represent what the University has to offer. If we do not give back, in whatever means possible, what are we demonstrating to others? The saying, “If not you, then who?” really matters. By giving back via funding, talent, and/or time, we afford others the opportunity to benefit as we have at UNC Charlotte.

More about the Felder Charitable Fund Annual Scholarship

The Felder Charitable Fund Annual Scholarship will provide renewable scholarship support to high school seniors who are members of a population historically underrepresented at UNC Charlotte; are accepted to the University with plans to enroll as full-time undergraduate students; have a minimum cumulative 3.5 high school GPA on a 4.0 scale; have completed at least 50 hours of community service during their junior and senior years of high school, and have demonstrated leadership involvement.

Applicants will be required to submit a 500-word essay on the topic of their choice and a signed certification of their volunteer hours, along with a copy of their high school transcripts. Scholarships will be $1,250 annually and will be renewable for up to three additional years resulting in a total award of $5,000 per student.

More about the Felders

The FeldersBernard Felder’s career has been exclusively in real estate development and finance. For the last seven years, he has led his own company, Sanctuary Residential, which focuses on affordable housing, neighborhood development and student housing.

Previously he served as national director of affordable, senior and student housing with Wood Partners where he led development and finance of nearly 7,000 units worth more than $700 million.

He also spent time at Duke Energy and Bank of America Community Development Corporation, most notably spearheading the redevelopment of Earle Village into what is now a vibrant mixed-income, mixed-product neighborhood in Uptown Charlotte. He completed a bachelor’s degree in political science from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at UNC Charlotte in 1991 and a master’s degree from UNC Chapel Hill.

Loraine Felder’s career mostly has been in the legal environment. Currently, she is a business support consultant in Wells Fargo’s legal department and a Mary Kay sales director where she leads a group of 28 women in becoming entrepreneurs in the cosmetics industry.

Previously she worked as clerk to the Board of Education and office manager for the superintendent of Guilford County Schools, executive coordinator for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools chief operating office and paralegal at McGuire Woods. She earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at UNC Charlotte in 1988.