HBCU’s Where Alumni Contribute the Most
Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs, have a rich legacy of providing higher education to Black Americans. These institutions were founded at a time when segregation denied African-Americans the opportunity to attend predominantly white institutions. Today, HBCUs continue to provide a unique college experience that empowers Black students to achieve their academic and career goals. In addition to producing successful graduates, HBCUs have alumni who contribute significant resources and support to their alma maters.
Alumni giving is an important part of any institution’s financial health, as it helps to support scholarships, facilities, and academic programs. According to a report by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, HBCUs have some of the highest alumni giving rates among all institutions. The report found that, on average, HBCUs receive 17 percent of their annual donations from alumni, compared to just 9 percent for non-HBCUs.
Several HBCUs have alumni who contribute at exceptionally high levels. Howard University, for example, has a robust giving program that has received more than $1 billion in gifts and contributions since its founding in 1867. Howard alumni have given generously to support student scholarships, faculty research, and campus improvements. In recognition of their support, the university has named several buildings and programs after prominent alumni, including the Cathy Hughes School of Communications and the Chadwick Boseman College of Fine Arts.
Another HBCU with a strong culture of alumni giving is Spelman College, a women’s college in Atlanta, Georgia. Spelman has one of the highest alumni giving rates among all colleges and universities, with more than 40 percent of alumnae donating to the college each year. Spelman’s alumnae have contributed to a wide range of initiatives, including scholarships, academic programs, and campus facilities. Their generosity has helped to make Spelman one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country.
In addition to individual donations, many HBCUs also benefit from the support of prominent alumni who use their influence and resources to advance their alma maters. Oprah Winfrey, for example, has been a longtime supporter of Tennessee State University, an HBCU in Nashville, Tennessee. Winfrey donated $1.5 million to the university in 2007 to establish the Oprah Winfrey Endowed Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to students from underprivileged backgrounds. Winfrey has also been an active advocate for TSU, using her media platform to promote the school and encourage others to support it.
Similarly, rapper and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs has been a vocal supporter of Howard University, where he attended for two years before dropping out to pursue a music career. Combs has donated to Howard’s scholarship fund and has used his platform to bring attention to the school’s academic programs and achievements. In 2020, he partnered with Comcast to launch a $1 million scholarship fund for Howard students studying TV and film.
HBCUs have a proud heritage of producing successful graduates who go on to make significant contributions to their communities and industries. For many alumni, giving back to their alma maters is a way to show gratitude and invest in the next generation of Black students. Through their generosity and support, HBCU alumni are helping to ensure that these institutions continue to provide the transformative educational experiences that have defined them for over a century.