Uniting Philanthropic Dollars to Support HBCUs


While we each serve as Black foundation CEOs, we also identify individually with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). We are HBCU alumni, parents of students attending HBCUs, funders of HBCUs, and community members deeply invested in their institutional success.

Earlier this year ABFE released a report showing the historic underfunding of HBCUs by philanthropy. The data showed that despite the achievements of HBCUs, philanthropy funds these higher education institutions at significantly lower rates than comparable predominantly white institutions. This leaves HBCUs with less than adequate funding to support their operations, educational programs, infrastructure, and endowments.

Recent letters from the Biden administration to state governors have highlighted the stark funding disparities, revealing that HBCUs have missed out on over $13 billion in the last three decades. The call for increased government investment and prioritization in funding HBCUs is a crucial step towards our goal of rectifying this historical injustice.

HBCUs continue to play an important role in rectifying systemic educational disparities and fostering a more equitable society. These institutions have historically played a crucial role in advancing opportunities for Black students, contributing to academic excellence, and promoting cultural pride. HBCUs consistently outperform their peers in numerous ways, including lower dropout rates, higher graduation rates, elevated GPAs, and enhanced employment prospects, making them globally recognized as some of the finest institutions in the world.

As Black Foundations CEOs representing a portion of this very sector, we have made a collective commitment to supporting various HBCUs across the nation through our extensive network. Notable among our contributors are those who, between 2015 and 2019, have collectively channeled over $25 million towards this cause:

  • The Mellon Foundation –   A substantial grant of $17,342,000, benefiting 18 HBCUs.
  • K. Kellogg Foundation –  Directed $8,357,273 in grants to support 13 HBCUs.
  • Silicon Valley Community Foundation –  Allocated $4,726,506 in grants, positively impacting 15 HBCUs.

The gutting of affirmative action by the Supreme Court may serve to increase enrollment in Black colleges and HBCU leaders are sounding the alarm for additional resources. As a national network of Black Foundation CEOs, organized by ABFE, we stand collectively to publicly commit our resources and organize to further support the HBCUs institutions that need it now more than ever. We hope to leverage the collective power of philanthropy to advance opportunities for high quality education, enabling all communities to thrive.

We invite you to join us.


We invite Black Foundation CEOs to sign on to this call to action. 



  • Tim Tramble, Saint Luke’s Foundation
  • Deanna James, St. Croix Foundation for Community Development
  • Tina Brown, Mourning Family Foundation
  • Brittney Collins, Betty & Davis Fitzgerald Foundation
  • Sherece West-Scantlebury, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation
  • Janet Y. Spears, Metta Fund
  • Alicia Procello, Avery Dennison Foundation
  • Heather Parish, The Albert Pick, Jr. Fund
  • Deanna James, St. Croix Foundation for Community Development
  • Tina Brown, Mourning Family Foundation
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