A philanthropic group has donated $124 million to the HBCU Transformation Project, an initiative started last year that aims to improve enrollment and retention at historically Black colleges and universities and reverse their historic funding inequities.
The project is a collaboration between three groups focused on HBCUs: UNCF, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and Partnership for Education Advancement. Leaders from those groups praised the initiative and investment in a Wednesday announcement.
“We’re thrilled that major donors and philanthropies are showing a new interest in HBCUs, and we welcome their support,” Harry Williams, president and CEO of Thurgood College Marshall Fund, said in a statement. “It’s long past time for HBCUs to get the resources they deserve.”
Most of the new funding will be invested into projects at individual HBCUs, such as building technology infrastructure and testing new curricular approaches. More than three dozen HBCUs are participating in the project, from small private institutions like Benedict College, in South Carolina, to larger land-grant institutions like Prairie View A&M University, in Texas.
The donation comes from Blue Meridian Partners, a nonprofit focused on improving economic mobility and racial equity. The same group also gave the HBCU Transformation Project an initial $60 million when it launched in March 2022.
In a statement, Jim Shelton, the nonprofit’s president and chief investment and impact officer, pointed to the HBCU Transformation Project’s recent wins as justification for more support.
For instance, Morehouse College, in Atlanta, improved student outcomes after developing a retention approach that identifies learners at risk for stopping out and provides them with support like intensive advising, according to the announcement.
“With this latest investment, we hope to accelerate the pace of change and strengthen these vital institutions and the students they serve at scale,” Shelton said.