UNITED STATES NEWS

$100 million gift from Lilly Endowment to United Negro College Fund will support HBCU endowments

Jan 11, 2024, 4:00 AM

The United Negro College Fund announced a donation of $100 million from the Lilly Endowment Inc., the single largest unrestricted gift to the organization since its founding 80 years ago.

The gift announced Thursday will go toward a pooled endowment for the 37 historically Black colleges and universities that form UNCF’s membership, with the goal of boosting the schools’ long-term financial stability.

HBCUs, which have small endowments compared with other colleges, have seen an increase in donations since the racial justice protests spurred by the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. Michael Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF, said donors today no longer question the need for HBCUs and instead ask how gifts to the schools can have the largest impact.

The chairman and CEO of the Lilly Endowment said the gift continues the organization’s history of supporting UNCF’s work. “The UNCF programs we have helped fund in the past have been successful, and we are confident that the efforts to be supported by this bold campaign will have a great impact on UNCF’s member institutions and their students’ lives,” N. Clay Robbins said in a statement.

The Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment provides financial support for coverage of religion and philanthropy at The Associated Press.

Lomax said he hopes other philanthropies will take note of the trust Lilly put in UNCF’s vision by making an unrestricted gift.

“They’re trusting the judgment of the United Negro College Fund to make a decision about where best to deploy this very significant and sizable gift,” Lomax said. “We don’t get a lot of gifts like that.”

As part of a $1 billion capital campaign, UNCF aims to raise $370 million for a shared endowment, Lomax said. For some UNCF schools, the gift from the Lilly Endowment alone, when split across all member organizations, will double the size of their individual endowments.

On a per-pupil basis, private non-HBCU endowments are about seven times the size of private HBCU endowments, according to a report from The Century Foundation. For public schools, the non-HBCU institutions on average have a per-pupil endowment that is three times larger than their public HBCU counterparts.

“We don’t have the same asset base that private non-HBCUs have,” Lomax said. HBCUs lack “a strong balance sheet as a result. And they don’t really have the ability to invest in the things that they think are important.”

Schools with substantial unrestricted financial resources are better able to weather crises and invest in large expenses that have long-term impact, such as infrastructure repairs.

The financial disparities between HBCUs and their counterparts, in many ways, mirror the racial wealth gap between Black and white families, particularly in the ability to create lasting wealth. The pooled endowment, Lomax said, is meant to provide some of that stability to member schools.

“Black families have fewer assets than non-Black families,” Lomax said. “They live paycheck to paycheck. Many of our smaller HBCUs live on the tuition revenue semester by semester. They need a cushion. This is that cushion.”

___

The story has been updated to correct to the Lilly Endowment, from the Lilly Foundation, on one reference.

___

The Associated Press’ education coverage receives financial support from multiple private foundations. AP is solely responsible for all content. Find AP’s standards for working with philanthropies, a list of supporters and funded coverage areas at AP.org.

United States News

Associated Press

Bernice Johnson Reagon, whose powerful voice helped propel the Civil Rights Movement, has died

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Bernice Johnson Reagon, a musician and scholar who used her rich, powerful contralto voice in the service of the American Civil Rights Movement and human rights struggles around the world, died on July 16, according to her daughter’s social media post. She was 81. Reagon was probably best known as the […]

23 minutes ago

ADD MORE LOCATIONS FILE - An envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident is ...

Associated Press

US census takers to conduct test runs in the South and West 4 years before 2030 count

Six places in the South and West will host practice runs four years prior to the 2030 U.S. census, a nationwide head count that helps determine political power and the distribution of federal funds. Residents of western Texas; tribal lands in Arizona; Colorado Springs, Colorado; western North Carolina; Spartanburg, South Carolina; and Huntsville, Alabama, will […]

28 minutes ago

Vice President Kamala Harris arrives to speak from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington,...

Associated Press

FACT FOCUS: A look at false claims around Kamala Harris and her campaign for the White House

The announcement that Vice President Kamala Harris will seek the Democratic nomination for president is inspiring a wave of false claims about her eligibility and her background. Some first emerged years ago, while others only surfaced after President Joe Biden’s decision to end his bid for a second term. Here’s a look at the facts. […]

29 minutes ago

Vice President Kamala Harris walks back into the White House after speaking from the South Lawn of ...

Associated Press

Kamala Harris smashes fundraising record with stunning $81 million haul over 24 hours

NEW YORK (AP) — Kamala Harris is smashing fundraising records as the Democratic Party’s donors — big and small — open their wallets for the vice president in the immediate aftermath of President Joe Biden’s stunning decision to step aside. In total, Harris’ team raised more than $81 million in the 24-hour period since Biden’s […]

31 minutes ago

FILE - Emergency personnel arrive to evacuate people at a mass shelter, Sept. 2, 2021, in Independe...

Associated Press

No prison for a nursing home owner who sent 800 residents to ride out a hurricane in squalor

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana businessman who sent more than 800 elderly residents from his seven nursing homes to ride out Hurricane Ida in a crowded, ill-equipped warehouse pleaded no contest to 15 criminal counts Monday and was sentenced to three years of probation. Bob Dean Jr. also must pay more than $358,000 in […]

37 minutes ago

Associated Press

New Orleans civil rights icon Tessie Prevost dead at 69

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Funeral services will be held Saturday for one of four Black girls who helped integrate New Orleans public schools in 1960. Tessie Prevost Williams, known as one of the “New Orleans Four,” died July 6 following a series of medical complications. She was 69. On Nov. 14, 1960, Prevost Williams, along […]

59 minutes ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

$100 million gift from Lilly Endowment to United Negro College Fund will support HBCU endowments