$100M Gift Will Build Endowment Pool for 37 HBCUs


The United Negro College Fund, which represents private historically Black colleges and universities, received $100 million from the Lilly Endowment Inc., a foundation focused on religion, education and community development. The gift is the largest unrestricted private grant in UNCF’s history, according to a press release from the organization.

Michael Lomax, president of UNCF, said in the release that the money will go toward a pooled endowment for 37 HBCUs.

The endowment is a part of a $1 billion capital campaign by UNCF focused on the long-term financial stability of HBCUs and scholarships for their students. UNCF seeks to raise $370 million for the endowment in total. The $100 million gift alone will increase each institution’s endowment by $2.7 million; that would at least double the endowments of several institutions, according to the release.

HBCUs typically have much smaller endowments than predominantly white institutions. The median endowment for a UNCF member institution is $15.9 million, research from UNCF’s Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute shows. The median private college endowment is $214.6 million, according to data from the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

“We believe this is the most prudent way to use Lilly Endowment’s transformational support,” Lomax said.

N. Clay Robbins, chairman and CEO at the Lilly Endowment, said in the release that the foundation has supported UNCF’s work for nearly 80 years.

“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,” he said.



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