Dec 15, 2023
News Release

Young Founder and Author, Marley Dias, to Share Remarks at General Mills and UNCF’s 34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast

The in-person event will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King while raising funds for students in the Twin Cities.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. walks between seven-year-old Eva Gracelemon, left, and 10-year-old Aritha Willis as he escorts black school children to formerly all-white schools in Grenada, Miss., Tuesday morning, Sept. 20, 1966.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN — General Mills and long-standing partner UNCF (United Negro College Fund) are hosting the 34th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast — returning in-person — as a community, to honor Dr. King’s life and legacy. Dr. Yohuru Williams, distinguished university chair, professor and founding director of the Racial Justice Initiative at the University of St. Thomas will lead a moderated conversation with author, literary advocate, and cultural influencer Marley Dias. The event will be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Jan. 15, 2024, from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Doors open at 7 a.m., and tickets are available at

Organized by General Mills and UNCF, the Minneapolis event is one of the nation’s largest celebrations of Dr. King’s life and legacy and raises funds to help under-represented students in the Twin Cities get to and through college. This year’s event theme “Leading Onward – Elevating New Voices for Justice and Equality,” was inspired by Dr. King’s dedication to action and advocating for the voice of youth in the Civil Rights Movement.

“Each year, this event gives us the opportunity to come together as a community to create an imperative to live out Dr. King’s legacy today and celebrate his unwavering commitment to education,” said Mary Jane Melendez, chief sustainability and global impact officer at General Mills. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to creating a world that reflects Dr. King’s dream and to advancing a culture of equity and belonging.”

General Mills and UNCF have a shared, long-standing commitment to addressing the need for deep, lasting changes to the systemic inequity faced by BIPOC communities. In honor of Dr. King, a 1948 graduate of Morehouse College, a historically Black college, proceeds from the breakfast benefit UNCF Twin Cities to support local students of color attend college and member historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Through this partnership of more than four decades, General Mills has provided $7.2 million to UNCF.

“This year, UNCF celebrates its 80th anniversary, and through our incredible partnership with General Mills we have been able to provide unprecedented support for HBCUs and the students they’ve served over the decades,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. “As we come together on this awesome occasion, let us remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said, ‘The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.’ Let us continue the hard work to make the words of Dr. King ring true as we help underrepresented students to fulfill their dreams of a college education and a better future.”

The annual holiday breakfast and support of UNCF have long been a priority for General Mills as part of its enterprise-wide “G Stands for Good” purpose platform, which is rooted in two foundational pillars – planet and people – and guides the company’s goal of creating meaningful change, building a culture of belonging and taking action on issues of racial and social justice within our communities. 

Community Engagement Opportunities

The MLK Holiday Breakfast in Minneapolis continues to inspire change in the world and honor those individuals whose footprints uplift the community. Individuals of all ages can visit to learn more about the many ways to take action, both during the MLK holiday and year-round.

About Marley Dias

Marley Dias is an activist, author, contributor, cultural influencer, speaker, founder and producer known for her passionate advocacy for representation across mediums. 
In 2015, at the age of 11, Marley launched the #1000BlackGirlBooks initiative, which aimed to collect and donate 1,000 books featuring Black girls as the main characters to schools and libraries across the United States. The campaign quickly gained national attention, eclipsing its original goal, collecting more than 15,000 books-to-date. She is also the author of Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You!

Marley currently serves as the ambassador of National Educational Association’s (NEA) Read Across America program, and host and executive producer of Netflix’s Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices. As a current Harvard student, Marley writes for the Harvard Crimson and also contributes to national publications, including Rolling Stone and Elle. 

Marley has spoken at the White House’s United State of Women, The Forbes Power Women’s Summit and the United Nation’s Girl Up conference. In 2018, Marley was recognized by TIME as one of the 25 most influential teens and was once the youngest person named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

Entertainment at the 2024 MLK Breakfast

The distinctive sound of Minnesota’s four-sibling family band, NUNNABOVE, returns for the second year. The group describes their genre as “positive alternative pop.” They appeared on America’s Got Talent in 2018, and the group has since performed at Summerfest, the largest outdoor venue in the country, the Minnesota State Fair, and a wide variety of local festivals, community events and fundraisers in and around the Twin Cities.

Known MPLS, an audition-based youth choir founded by Courtland Pickens in the summer of 2019, stands as a beacon of recognition and empowerment for young voices in Minneapolis. A vibrant extension of Voicez, Inc., a nonprofit music organization dedicated to nurturing the next generation of singers and composers across the Twin Cities, Known MPLS thrives under Courtland's direction. Guided by the ethos of galvanizing youths aged 12-25 as catalysts for change, Known MPLS fosters a transformative space, instilling self-esteem, leadership, cultural appreciation, discipline and a pursuit of excellence among its members.

Event History

The annual holiday breakfast began when UNCF and General Mills joined together in 1991 to host a community celebration to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Past speakers include Dr. Bernice King, Yolanda King, Ambassador Andrew Young, the Honorable Eric H. Holder, CNN’s Laura Coates, Valerie Jarrett former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harry Belafonte, Rev. Joseph Lowery, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, Marian Wright Edelman, Donna Brazile, Vernon Jordan and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

This event is made possible by co-hosts General Mills and UNCF, and presenting sponsor Best Buy. Additional support has been generously provided by 3M, Allina, Cargill, Carlson Family Foundation, CHS, C.H. Robinson, Ecolab, Huntington Bank, Medtronic, Minnesota Timberwolves & Lynx, Mortenson, Pentair, Target, Thrivent, United Health Group, Wells Fargo, Winnebago, and Xcel Energy.


To purchase tickets for the event or for more information, visit All proceeds from the breakfast benefit UNCF Twin Cities to support local students of color attend college and member Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The event strives to provide accessible experiences for all and will include an ASL interpreter. The event will also be broadcast on WCCO AM 830.

G Stands for Good

General Mills stands for good – for the people we serve, the brands you love and the planet we depend on. For more than 150 years, General Mills has believed doing good and good business go hand-in-hand. The company is putting people first by improving food security and advancing a culture of inclusion, equity and belonging, and by creating positive planetary outcomes through actions beyond its walls. Learn more at

About General Mills

General Mills makes food the world loves. The company is guided by its Accelerate strategy to drive shareholder value by boldly building its brands, relentlessly innovating, unleashing its scale and standing for good. Its portfolio of beloved brands includes household names such as Cheerios, Nature Valley, Blue Buffalo, Häagen-Dazs, Old El Paso, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Totino’s, Annie’s, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills generated fiscal 2023 net sales of U.S. $20.1 billion. In addition, the company’s share of non-consolidated joint venture net sales totaled U.S. $1.0 billion.

About UNCF

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, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. While totaling only 3% of all colleges and universities, UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 15% of bachelor’s degrees, 5% of master’s degrees, 10% of doctoral degrees and 19% of all STEM degrees earned by Black students in higher education. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 50,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” ® Learn more at or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.


Mollie Wulff, General Mills Corporate Communications
(763) 764-6364