For the past 25 years, Shedale Rayford has made it a point to volunteer her time at the annual UNCF (United Negro College Fund) Los Angeles Walk for Education to help raise money for scholarships that will go to underserved students.

This year, Rayford, a designer in Local Planning at Southern California Edison (SCE), manned the Edison International booth, registering participants and distributing T-shirts to other employees and their families and friends walking as part of Team Edison. 

“I am volunteering because I know there are lots of students who deserve an opportunity to further their education,” she said. “Some parents do not have the money to send their children to college. And that is why I come out here to help the UNCF raise money to help deserving students who want to further their education.”

Rayford was one of more than 200 members of Team Edison who took part in the 32nd Annual UNCF Los Angeles Walk for Education that was recently held at Exposition Park. Held annually, the 5K run/walk benefits UNCF, one of the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organizations. 

Proceeds from the walk are used to help increase college access for underserved students through scholarships and direct funding to historically black colleges and universities that are UNCF members. UNCF also uses the funds for its educational advocacy efforts for education and college readiness. 

“At Edison, we truly understand the importance of education,” said Patricia Miller, SCE’s vice president of Human Resources, who is also a member of the UNCF Los Angeles Leadership Council. “Our employees are members of the communities we serve. Just as our employees support the company's objectives, it is also important that the company give back and support our employees in those things that they are passionate about.” 

Edison International has been a corporate sponsor of UNCF for more than two decades and has contributed nearly $500,000 to the nonprofit over the past 10 years. This year, the company donated $25,000 as a title sponsor of the event

Employee participation, an effort led by the Networkers Employee Resource Group at SCE, has raised more than $250,000 for UNCF over the past six years. This year, the Networkers achieved their target of $25,000 for the walk, matching the corporate contribution amount from Edison International. 

“I am really excited over the last several years with the strong employee turnout from Edison and just ask that you continue to support us and even grow your numbers and your support,” said Curtis Silvers, Area Development director for UNCF. “I also want Edison to continue to be the leader and role model for other corporations in Southern California to follow.”

With the walk now over, Rayford, who has already volunteered more than 80 hours this year at various nonprofits, is already looking forward to the next volunteer event. 

“As I was driving home from the walk on Saturday, I was already asking myself, ‘what volunteer activity can I do next Saturday?’” she said. “There is just so much need in the community. And because we are so blessed at Edison, I just think it is important that we give back to those who need help most.”