DATABASE: HBCUs Received More Than $118 Million in March; Bank of America, Ralph Lauren and Google Among Key Donors

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  • Last month, at least 50 gifts, grants or collaborations were announced ranging from $10,000 to $60 million.
  • A new $1.5 Million initiative was launched, aiming to improve HBCU community colleges. 
  • Two fashion companies, Polo Ralph Lauren and Coach, also worked with multiple schools in March.

A new analysis by The Plug has found that HBCUs received at least $118.9 million from at least 50 publicly announced gifts, grants or collaborations during the month of March.

The awards range from a $10,000 grant given to Morehouse College after they placed third at the HBCU Battle of the Brains, a $20 million donation to Meharry Medical College from serial philanthropist MacKenzie Scott and a $60 million initiative for the HBCU community overall.

The total of gifts, grants or collaborations for the month is larger than the two previous. In January, HBCUs received more than $64 million and in February, they received more than $113 million.

More than half of the nearly $119 million HBCUs received in March is because of the HBCU Transformation Project, an initiative led by the United Negro College Fund, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Partnership for Education Advancement to systematically change and improve HBCUs. The project has an initial $60 million in funding through Blue Meridian Partners and includes an inaugural group of 20 HBCUs, with the eventual goal to reach every HBCU.

March also saw the launch of a first-of-its-kind national network of 14 Predominantly Black community colleges and eight Historically Black community colleges aimed at improving their programs in order to grow career and economic outcomes for students. The initiative is spearheaded by Complete College America, a non-profit that works to increase higher education completion rates, and is backed by $1.5 million in grants from the Lumina Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Other notable donations and collaborations include:

  • A $1 million grant from Bank of America to Virginia Union University to fund the school’s new workforce development and financial markets program. The funding is part of the $1 billion commitment the bank made in June 2020 to address economic and racial inequality.

  • Polo Ralph Lauren unveiled a collection inspired by Morehouse College and Spelman College. The line was conceptualized and designed by a Morehouse alum and a Spelman alum who now work at the fashion company. It is the first time that Ralph Lauren has partnered with a college or university.

  • Coach also worked with six HBCUs last month through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Cheyney, Delaware State, Florida A&M, Harris-Stowe State, Tuskegee and Virginia State Universities received a donation of 11,000 units of business professional clothing — dresses, jackets, skirts, pants, shirts and shoes — from the fashion house. Virginia State is using the clothes for career readiness programs and to teach retail marketing.

  • Lincoln University of Missouri’s career services also got a boost in March through a $20,000 grant from the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program. Lincoln will put its grant towards internships for students, including free training, tools and access to industry expertise.

See the full database of March HBCU funding announcements below:

Carlin Nelson, research fellow at The Plug, contributed to this report.

Mirtha Donastorg

Mirtha Donastorg is a corps member with Report for America and The Plug's HBCU Innovation Editor and Senior Reporter, exploring start-up initiatives and innovations coming from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as well as the way students are shaping the future of tech. She previously worked as an associate producer and a researcher for CNN.