Equity Is Not Equality Historical Black Colleges and Universities State and Federal Under-Funding in the 21st Century

Equity Is Not Equality Historical Black Colleges and Universities State and Federal Under-Funding in the 21st Century

Kevin D. Crum Jr.

School of Education and Human Development Department of Educational and Psychological Studies, University of Miami



                                                                  Spring 2022

History and Overview of the Problem

This paper will first present the history and overview of the problem of funding inequities at HBCUs. Second, I will present past and current civil lawsuits, legislation, and laws affecting HBCUs at the state and federal levels. Third I will discuss the stakeholders affected by these funding inequities at HBCUs. Fourth I will review four significant investigations and cases filed by HBCUs’ current and former students in Mississippi, Maryland, Tennessee, and Florida. Fifth, the types of leaders and the style of leadership required to reform the funding inequity at HBCUs, coupled with a plan for philanthropic fundraising and development to target American corporations’ investments and private donations. Finally,  an action plan for transformational leaders at HBCUs, advising them on advocating for philanthropic giving targeting American corporations and private donations, and boldly filing with the state’s district court civil lawsuits, persistently advocating for legislation and laws at the state and federal levels to improve nations HBCUs through equity funding.

“A UNCF report noted that other common mobility rates used to assess American students’ upward mobility do not account for as much movement between socioeconomic groups as the “move into middle class and higher” mobility rate. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) serve a higher percentage of economically disadvantaged students than most other colleges and universities in the United States. In comparison to the national average, over 30% more HBCUs educate low-income students. When compared to other types of colleges, HBCUs have a higher average access rate than all other universities in the US and five times that of “Ivy League” schools. More than 70% of HBCU students are Pell Grant qualified, and 39% are first-generation college students, resulting in these high access rates. In terms of mobility rates, HBCUs beat all other categories on average and across institution types and are twice as high as the national average.” (Hammond et al., 2021)  “HBCUs represent just 3% of the nation’s four-year institutions, yet they educate 80% of all black judges, 50% of all black lawyers and doctors, and 25% of black science, technology, math, and engineer graduates. HBCUs are one factor to improving the lives of the black community” (Herder, 2021).

“However, the higher education institutions that have been the most successful in driving the black community into the middle class, the nation’s Black land-grant colleges, have been underfunded by at least $12.8 billion compared to their predominantly white peers. As a result, the majority of America’s Historical Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are experiencing financial difficulties” (Herder, 2021). Fact sheet: Department of education announces state-by-state American rescue plan funding for colleges and Universities (2022). Most recently, The American Rescue Plan was released.  March 7th, 2022, Historically Black Colleges and Universities received 2.7 billion dollars, Hispanic Serving Institutions received 11 Billion dollars, and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions received 5 Billion dollars.  Political and  Higher Education leaders will argue that funding was distributed fairly when considering allocations per each university student population. However, with  HBCUs being historically underfunded by states coupled with America’s racial wealth gap, equality does not equal equity. U.S. Department of the Interior (2021) Reports that for a Historical White Institution to qualify as a Minority Serving Institution or Hispanic-serving institution, the institution must enroll 25% of minorities

Historically Black Colleges and Universities do not need equality but equity and social-economic justice to compete with the nation’s Historical White Institutions. Being underfunded, equal treatment would only keep HBCUs less funded than their Historical White Institutions’ peers. The following quote summarizes the financial inequalities for HBCUs.

Cantey (2013) noted, “The history of Black colleges and universities in the U.S.A. mirrors the country’s longer struggle with Jim Crow segregation and centers the role of education in the fight for racial justice.”

State and Federal Court Cases & Legislation 

“The very first HBCUs were private institutions established prior to the Civil War as a means of providing religious and basic skills instruction to free Blacks in the North. With passage of the Morrill Act of 1862, states were given land by the federal government to establish land-grant public colleges, a handful of which were established for the education of free Blacks. However, it was not until after the Civil War and passage of the second Morrill Act in 1890 that the federal government took a more aggressive approach to establishing public HBCUs. By conditioning the receipt of federal funds to states operating segregated systems of public higher education on the establishment by those states of separate schools for Blacks, the second Morrill Act produced seventeen new HBCUs. Because the Act limited these public land-grant schools to agricultural and vocational training, they offered no broad liberal arts or professional education for Blacks. In addition to these public, land-grant colleges, between 1865 and 1890, over 200 private HBCUs were founded in the South, largely by white missionary organizations. Collectively, these institutions, both public and private HBCUs, became the backbone of higher education for Blacks from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries.” (Hawkins,2021, pp. 356-357)  “1890 land-grant institutions programs are intended to strengthen research, extension and teaching in the food and agricultural sciences by building the institutional capacities of the 1890 Institutions. The 1890 land-grant system consists of the following 19 universities: Alabama A&M, Alcorn State University, Central State University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, Kentucky State University, Langston University, Lincoln University, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, South Carolina State University, Southern University, Tennessee State University, Tuskegee University, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Virginia State University and West Virginia State University.” (USDA, 1890 land-grant institutions programs) In the 21st Century, “HBCUs include 91 four-year and 17 two-year institutions of higher education established prior to 1964, for the primary purpose of educating African-Americans. The majority of the 102 HBCUs are located in the Southeastern states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands.” (U.S. Department of the Interior, 2021)The subsequent four cases we will review throughout this article will bring us back to the passage above, the Morrill Act of 1862 and the Second Morrill Act of 1890.

The first case I will discuss King (1997) Noted in 1975, Jake Ayers, the lead plaintiff,  Bennie Thompson, a student at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU)  in the 1970s, and attended the University of Southern Mississippi, a Historical White Institution (HWI) along with Rep. Bennie Thompson, who now represents Mississippi’s 2nd district in congress, and other black Mississippi citizens sued the State of Mississippi by petitioning the courts that the State of Mississippi violated the Fifth, Ninth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Amendments. In 1991 the Supreme court ruled 8-1 that the state of Mississippi did not do enough to end segregation in public universities. The State of Mississippi settled the class-action lawsuit in 2001. “Our argument from the beginning is that Mississippi operated a dual system of higher education, one for Black students and one for white students; if you at that time wanted a first-class education, all things on the table, then you would go to the historically white school because those resources were there. The legislative appropriations were altogether different. They offered scholarship opportunities for students rather than loans. The extracurricular offerings, both on the academic and other side, were just glaring. Students had opportunities to travel. Students had opportunities to attend lecture series at no cost. Whereas Jackson State and other historically Black colleges struggled just to meet minimum standards, Rep. Bennie Thompson explained” (Donastorg, 2022)

Donastorg (2022) The Ayers Settlement with the State of Mississippi agreed that a $500 million investment in  Mississippi would pour into the state’s public HBCUs. With the settlement, the state of Mississippi would provide $245.8 million to create and enhance academic programs at Alcorn State University, Jackson State University, and Mississippi Valley State University. Additionally, receive up to $75 million to enhance campus facilities and buildings. The Ayers Settlement also established two endowments for the HBCUs, a $70 million publicly funded endowment and a $35 million privately funded endowment. However, total disbursement of the funds would only be released if at least 10 percent of each school’s student body was non-Black. The State of Mississippi would also provide $6.25 million for scholarships to universities’ summer developmental education programs. Ironically the pool of money would be available to all the public universities in the state of Mississippi, not just HBCUs. Ivory Phillips, A 1963 graduate of Jackson State University, Dean Emeritus of the JSU College of Education, and a consultant on the Ayers case. Phillips stated that the entire settlement had not been released to Jackson State University, Alcorn State University, and Mississippi Valley State University, as the institutions only received $400 million.

Additionally, Phillips stated that the $2.5 million in attorney’s fees did not go to the HBCUs. Coupled with Phillips stated that the HBCUs did not receive the $70 million public endowment but used the funds for scholarships for white students to attend the HBCUs. For Alcorn, the settlement was allocated for enhancing and growing the teacher education programs, library and academic technology, fine arts facility, remodeling the older building, and establishing a master’s in biotechnology. For MVSU, the settlement funding went toward STEM programs, scholarships, remodeling the library, landscaping and drainage system, and building a STEM complex. In addition, the settlement allowed JSU to establish an engineering department, a master’s degree in public health and communicative disorders, and a doctorate in social work, urban and regional planning, and business.

The second case we will review is The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education; Inc is a nonprofit organization established in 2006 to support Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and promote equity between the HBCU(s) and Maryland’s Historically white institutions. As noted in (Coalition for equity and excellence v. MD. Higher Educ. Comm’n,” n.d.) “The COALITION FOR EQUITY AND EXCELLENCE IN MARYLAND HIGHER EDUCATION, et al. v. MARYLAND HIGHER EDUCATION COMMISSION case . This action arises under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiffs The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education and named individuals associated with the organization (collectively,  “the Coalition”) allege that defendants State of Maryland, the Maryland Higher Education Commission (“MHEC”), and its officers in their official capacities (collectively, “the State”) have failed to desegregate Maryland’s system of higher education as required by federal law under the framework articulated in United States v. Fordice, 505 U.S. 717, 112 S.Ct. 2727, 120 L.Ed.2d 575 (1992). As a result for HBCUs in Maryland after a  15-year legal battle between Plaintiffs The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education vs the State of Maryland, the Maryland Higher Education Commission and its officers in their official capacities and the state over its treatment of the institutions. Larry Hogan Maryland’s governor signed legislation on March 24, 2021, settling $577 million added to current and future funding for Maryland’s four Historically Black Colleges and Universities over ten years beginning in 2023.”

  The third case we will review is the State of Tennessee, underfunded Tennessee State University, a Historically Black College and University, by an estimated $150 million to $544 million in land grant funds over a century. As noted ( Stockard, 2021)  “Using the current formula for funding the state’s two land grant colleges, the University of Tennessee and Tennessee State University, TSU received $150 million less than it should have dating back to 1956, according to the report by House Budget Analysis Director Peter Muller. TSU was founded in 1912 to serve Black students. Under a previous 3-to-1 formula, the outcome was even worse, with the state shorting TSU by $544 million, according to the report Muller gave to the Legislature’s Land Grant Institution Funding Committee. The federal government makes a grant to the state for UT and TSU, and the Legislature is responsible for matching that money for each institution. But the report shows that TSU did not receive money in many years. Harold Love Sr. worked on a similar report in 1970 when he was elected to represent the Tennessee State University district, but State Legislation did not right the wrongs of the underfunding.” However, 52 years later, Harold Love Jr., son of Harold Love Sr., both are alums of TSU. Harold Jr., who is currently a state legislator, was able to chair the current report that led to national media and marketing reporting on the years of underfunding that led to the Governor of Tennessee to include in the state Budget to allocate funds of 250 million for Tennessee State University to receive without a lengthy legal battle in court. Muse (2022) Writes  September 2022, Tennessee State University Students leaders begged in Nashville local media FOX 17 WZTV Nashville that their university needs the total amount owed of 500 Million to their University, not just the 250 Million offered by the governor through legislation budget.

We will review the fourth and last case; however, court proceedings have not begun. Denton v. The State Of Florida (2022) In September,22,2022  Plaintiffs Britney Denton, Nyabi Stevens, Deidrick Dansby, Fayerachel Peterson, Alexander Harris, and John Doe, who are current students at Florida A&M, filed a petition to sue the State of Florida. The state’s public university systems leaders The petition alleges that The State of Florida violated the following: (1) Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq. Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any program or activity that receives Federal funds or other Federal financial assistance, (2) 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Violation of the Equal Protection Clause Pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides as follows: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The plaintiffs allege the following  “The number of Florida A&M students in the program has been declining, while the number of Florida State students has been increasing, according to the lawsuit. The state also yanked the shared college’s $13 million budget from Florida A&M in 2015 and placed it under Florida State’s authority, it says. Unnecessary academic program duplication is harmful, socially and economically, the lawsuit says. It harms the citizenry of the State of Florida, FAMU, its students, including Plaintiffs and the proposed Class, and the public at large because the duplication: wastes and dilutes limited State resources when programs already exist to meet the demand and thereby reduces the economic efficiencies of the higher education system.”  (Seltzer, 2022) Additionally, the plaintiffs allege that “The lawsuit also takes aim at a performance-based funding model Florida put in place in 2014. It awards some funding based upon metrics the state university system adopted, including four-year graduation rates and median wages of graduates a year after graduation. That system “unfairly compares schools that serve student populations” from different socioeconomic backgrounds, the lawsuit says.” (Seltzer, 2022) The plaintiffs find, “The lawsuit goes on to compare funding for Florida A&M and the University of Florida. Florida A&M received $110 million in state appropriations in 2019, or $11,450 per student. The University of Florida received $785 million, or $14,984 per student. Between 1987 and 2020, Florida A&M has received $1.3 billion less than the University of Florida, according to the law firm representing the students, Grant & Eisenhofer” (Seltzer, 2022)

Stakeholders Affected by the Problem

Primary stakeholders directly affected by this issue are the students, student-athletes, and institutions themselves, including staff and faculty. Students are always the first group impacted by any decisions made by higher education institutions, especially regarding funding. Their very experiences at the institution are determined by how much funding the university receives. Funding impacts their housing, scholarships, dining, programs, and so much more.

For example,

 Learotha Williams Jr., a professor at Tennessee State University, witnessed how badly his institution needed funding when the campus was struck by lightning two years ago. The lightning damaged underground wires when it hit a central circuit in the campus’s aged electrical system. Disruptive power outages followed for weeks at the historically Black land-grant university. Our infrastructure shouldn’t have been to a point where a lightning strike can shut down the School, not in the 21st century , said Williams, an associate professor of African American and public history. But that’s almost what happened. Residence halls had to be hooked up to generators, and students soon began complaining about the accommodations. More than 9,000 students signed a petition calling for tuition refunds and citing “inconsistent” hot water and electricity and “basic needs” not being met. (Weissman, 2021)

As stated by the current Tennessee State University president “I can’t overstress the dramatic effect [the underfunding has] had on TSU,” said Glenda Baskin Glover, president of Tennessee State. “It has severely hampered our student and faculty technology advancements, our ability to recruit academically talented students, to compete with the scholarship offers from other schools that can offer much more competitive scholarship packages. That’s where we are.” (Weissman, 2021)

“By law, land-grant institutions receive an annual state match to their federal land grants for food and agriculture research. But between the fiscal years of 1957 and 2007, Tennessee budget records show no funds were directed to Tennessee State University, the state’s only public HBCU. According to a report by the Tennessee Office of Legislative Budget Analysis, the state owes the university anywhere between $150 million and $544 million in unpaid land-grant funds.”  (Weissman, 2021)

However, this year  (Friedman & Gang, 2022)   “Tennessee State University and The State of Tennessee settle for $250 Million dollars After a Joint Land Grant Committee was formed in November 2020, chaired by Rep. Harold Love an alum of Tennessee State University to research the state of Tennessee unpaid land-grant funds to Tennessee State University.”

“In regards to student-athletes, inequitable funding “inhibits HBCUs’ ability to offer athletic scholarships for student-athletes” especially considering that most students at HBCUs typically come from lower-income backgrounds” (Graham, 2021). Graham continues by stating, “With fewer financial resources, HBCUs face challenges in marketing the success of their programs and recruiting the best talent so they can remain competitive and compete on the national stage” (2021). Many in the college sports community advocate for the elite student-athletes to attend HBCUs to help increase the HBCU’s funding and revenue but the lack of resources and facilities at HBCUs hinders the elite student-athlete from choosing HBCUs over HWI. (Graham, 2021).

As Hill (2019) noted, “The NCAA reported $1.1 billion in revenue for its 2017 fiscal year. Most of that money comes from the Division I men’s basketball tournament. In 2016, the NCAA extended its television agreement with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting through 2032—an $8.8 billion deal. About 30 Division I school each bring in at least $100 million in athletic revenue every year. Almost all these schools are majority white—in fact, black men make up only 2.4 percent of the total undergraduate population of the 65 schools in the  Power Five athletic conferences. Yet black men make up 55 percent of the football players in those conferences, and 56 percent of basketball players. Black athletes have attracted money and attention to the predominantly white universities that showcase them. Meanwhile, black colleges are struggling. Alabama’s athletic department generated $174 million in the 2016–17 school year, whereas the HBCU that generated the most money from athletics that year, Prairie View A&M, brought in less than $18 million.”

Another important stakeholder impacted by this problem is the overall national economy. “McKinsey and Company, a global management and consulting firm, argues that increased funding for historically Black colleges and universities could help close the racial wealth gap, diversify the American workforce and benefit the national economy” (Stockard, 2022). With HBCUs being the biggest producer of Black professionals across all industries, who then feed into the economy with their purchasing power, funding for HBCUs also impacts building up these professionals and members of the middle and upper-middle class that pour money into the overall economy.

 Lessons for HBCUs

The first lesson for HBCUs is that settlements do not cure inequities, governmental underfunding, and neglect. HBCUs should not settle but should petition the state courts for denying state land grant matches and/or unlawfully not abiding by Title VI, Fifth, Ninth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Additionally, double down articulating to the state and federal courts since the state did not match the land grant on time yearly. As a result, the universities lose compound interest from investment opportunities and the ability to grow the institution’s endowment. The $500 million total of the Ayers Settlement is similar to what Maryland HBCUs negotiated after a 15-year legal battle, both receiving a $500 million agreement. However, Jackson State University students may have to file another petition to receive the outstanding balance of $100 Million out of the $500 Million 2001 Ayers settlement. In 2022  the governor of the State of Tennessee shared with the public a budget that allocates $330 million to Tennessee State University after reports pointed out that the State of Tennessee had underfunded Tennessee State University up to $544 million, but the state still owed 214 Million. Tennessee State University student leaders need to follow the example of Florida A&M and file a petition with District courts in the State of Tennessee. Historically, Florida A&M and Tennessee State University did not oversee the land grant matches from their state year to year. The 1890 land-grant institutions should file petitions with the courts that each state land grant university and colleges states should create a webpage that shows all the land grant matching funds year to year. This will help hold the state accountable and update the land grant colleges yearly. The next step is identifying the transformational Leader or Leader(s). The Leader(s) will need to be a lawyer(s)  legal experts with Title VI, fifth, Ninth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth amendments, and the second Morrill Act in 1890. The Leader(s) will need experience in Higher Education institutions, preferably in Historical Black Colleges and Universities., with a background in economic justice and a degree or Certificate in Fund Raising Management.

The Role of Transforming/

Transformational Leadership

A transformational leadership style will be critical in addressing the problem of inequitable funding affecting HBCUs because it requires a divergence from the “norm” and changing of entrenched mindsets. Especially with many of the decision-makers in government not understanding or being fully aware of the significance of the HBCU experience, the ability to raise their level of consciousness beyond their self-interest becomes crucial. This also explains why the leaders in the reform should have a background in law and an understanding of HBCUs. With these backgrounds and traits, the professional can articulate why inequitable funding is an issue, the importance of HBCUs in higher education, and why changes need to be made to the intended lawmaking audience using jargon they are familiar with.

For example:  “Historically Black land-grant institutions have always had trouble getting their due, said Harry L. Williams, president, and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, an advocacy organization for public HBCUs. When Harry Williams was the president of Delaware State University, also a historically Black land-grant university, he remembers reminding lawmakers when he presented his annual budget requests that his institution was entitled to a full match to federal funding. “Every time you get a new legislator, you have to educate them on this and then you’ve got to go through that process of explaining why,” he said. But with the 1862 land-grant institutions, “you don’t have to do that. It’s automatic. Penn State will automatically get their dollar-to-dollar match. North Carolina State will automatically get it. They don’t have to go in and make a case.” (Weissman, 2021)

Higher education professional leaders addressing the reform of this problem need to have a background in law or be active attorneys with backgrounds in economic justice and educational experiences with HBCUs. Additionally, these leaders should embody the elements of transformational leadership style, its qualities, and its traits to positively impact Historical Black Colleges and Universities’ funding equity.

Burns (1978) defined leadership as the process of “inducing followers to act for certain goals that represent the values and the motivations—the wants and needs, the aspirations and expectations—of both leaders and followers” (p. 19). Thus, leadership is not a unidirectional power relationship but a bidirectional relationship that takes into account the development of the follower as well. He conceived these relationships as falling along a continuum, with transactional leadership representing one end and transforming leadership the other. Thus, leaders adopt either a more transforming approach or a more transactional approach in terms of how they structure their relationships with followers” (Dugan, J. P. 2017).

Burns (1978) also identified transactional leadership as “the most typical approach employed by leaders because it capitalizes on self-interest and involves the exchange of items of perceived value as a means to motivate followers (e.g., financial payment in exchange for work performance)”. Conversely, transforming leadership leveraged both leaders’ and followers’

mutual morality, motivation, and aspirations to accomplish goals, demonstrating a more profound effect on followers by raising their levels of consciousness to transcend self-interests Burns also believed transforming leadership developed “a relationship of mutual stimulation and elevation that converts followers into leaders and may convert leaders into moral agents … the type of leadership that can produce social change” (p. 4).

Bass (1985) built off the foundations of Burns’ (1978) work but altered the terminology from transforming to transformational. His efforts largely focused on clarifying its application to practice. However, he deviated in several significant ways from Burns’ original concepts. He shifted transformational and transactional leadership from operating on a single continuum to two separate continua, arguing that motivating followers to performance beyond expectations involved the use of both transactional and transformational behaviors to varying degrees. Additionally, Bass (1985) initially diverged from the assumption that transforming leadership was inherently ethical, omitting this from the theory and directing greater attention to the importance of charisma. “This meant that transformational leadership might be in service of a greater good, but this was not always the case, and, in fact, transformational leadership could be used to advance opportunistic self-interests. This removal of the intent of the theory contributed to a number of problems” (Dugan, 2017).

The Role of Fundraising and Philanthropy Program

“Two findings help to shape the fundraising environment in which HBCUs find themselves. One report praises philanthropists and prominent companies for a recent increase in financial support for HBCUs after the killing of George Floyd last summer and a national reckoning with racism” (Stockard, 2022). “If such attention and funding could be sustained — and increased — HBCUs could help to unlock not only more advancement for Black Americans but also strong economic performance for the United States,” the report states (Stockard, 2022). Another account states, “In my opinion and according to years of my research, fundraising along with leadership are the two most pressing issues facing Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). For decades HBCUs have struggled to build endowments, increase alumni giving, and secure major gifts. Owing to a lack of access to wealth on the part of African Americans as well as discrimination on the part of White individual, foundation and corporate donors, HBCUs have had to battle to raise money. Theirs is a storied history of garnering funds from wealthy White philanthropists, the Black church, and as of late, their alumni who are not used to giving regularly because they have not been asked” (Gasman,2010).

Despite its difficult past with fundraising, HBCUs have a unique opportunity to access funds they may not have been able to before because of the rise in donations and philanthropic efforts geared towards the Black community and HBCUs. Therefore, one pathway to address the funding inequities experienced is to build a model that HBCUs can follow to improve the philanthropic and fundraising efforts at their institutions. HBCUs can model programs current fundraising professionals  earn their certificate in fundraising management from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis’s Lilly School of Philanthropy and Fundraising.

“Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis offers a PhD, Masters of Arts and Bachelors of Arts degree in philanthropic studies through its School of Liberal Arts. The School also houses the Center on Philanthropy that is recognized internationally as the leading academic center dedicated to increasing the understanding of philanthropy and improving its practice. For more than 20 years, the Center has professionalized fundraising through its academic programs, research and public service. The Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in philanthropic studies provides a theoretical framework and practical knowledge for students who want to turn their passions for civic engagement into professions” (Bowman,2010).

Suppose Historical Black College and Universities build philanthropy and fundraising degree programs at their institutions. In that case, the philanthropy and fundraising students could fulfill their degree requirements through internships with the institution and receive federal work-study funds. 

In philanthropy and fundraising, the student of the HBCUs would be listed as volunteers. Not only does this benefit the University, but also the students and their careers. Volunteering in America states, “Volunteering increases your odds of finding employment by 27+% after being out of a job – higher odds, if you don’t have a high school diploma or live in a rural area. Volunteers, are [also] almost twice as likely (79% volunteers vs 40% non-volunteers) to donate to charity as non-volunteers, with high-income volunteers donating the highest amount to the charity where they donate the most hours.” This notion highlights a giving cycle in which volunteers turn to financial donors; which then feeds the very programs seeking funding and further improving the HBCU’s fundraising efforts.

 According to Bowman (2010), the benefits of an HBCU fundraising program include being able to train future development officers who are familiar with the HBCU environment and the need to be innovative due to the lack of resources. These professionals would be greatly sought after as their skill sets would prove extremely beneficial to HBCUs. Black institutions are disproportionately disadvantaged in the area of institutional advancement; typically suffering from a lack of key personnel, professional training and numerous technical resources (Gasman and Anderson, 2003).

Another advantage resulting from an HBCU fundraising program is producing fundraisers who can better relate to the alumni. Whereas the formalized fundraising practiced by HBCUs, and more specifically the 47 public HBCUs, is still relatively new – less than 20 years – many black alumni were never solicited during their time on campus nor have they been contacted since graduation. The idea of having someone approach them who looks like them and is very familiar with the HBCU experience, significantly increases the chances of, at the very least, re-establishing a relationship, and at the very best, securing a major or planned gift.

One additional advantage of an HBCU fundraiser program is the bond of loyalty that would be created between the current students and their HBCUs. Moreover, a culture of philanthropy that could be stimulated and nurtured throughout the campus could begin to exist as a result of a fundraising program. Often times on HBCU campuses, there is grumbling amongst members of the student body when there are not enough resources for programs. Students in a fundraising program could encourage other students to generate funding for their own programs – in effect, teaching fundraising. Over time as students graduate and move on with their lives, this introduction to philanthropy may continue to manifest in the form of increased alumni giving levels at all HBCUs, which currently hovers between five and nine percent on average.

The African American community as a whole would also benefit as an HBCU fundraising program presents another mid to upper level professional career opportunity to which young people can aspire. Although historically Blacks have always been communal in their giving (Gasman and Sedgwick, 2005), very seldom are African Americans seen as the relationship cultivator or the major gifts officer. Seeing a likeness of one’s self in a position of power and prestige that had previously only been occupied by another race makes it believable, attainable, and desirable.

In closing, court settlements do not cure inequities, governmental underfunding, and neglect. Therefore, Historically, Black College and Universities Presidents and leaders need to be bold and persistent in practicing Transformational Leadership. Be persistent with civil lawsuits and legislation and create cutting-edge fundraising and philanthropy programs to ensure their institutions will reach equity to give their students the same resources and experiences as their Historical White institutions’ peers.


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