Historically Black Colleges and Universities alums are often portrayed as not giving back to their alma maters, but recent data about HBCU gifting challenges this misconception. Contrary to popular belief, many HBCU graduates actively contribute to their institutions financially–and do so above the national average.
In 2019, the national alumni giving rate was just 8 percent during the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 academic years, but HBCU grads, as a collective, were giving back at a rate of 10 percent, exceeding the national average, Forbes reported. Some HBCUs, like Tuskegee, Claflin, Spelman, and Bennett, have alumni who give at rates above 25 percent, shattering the myth that HBCU alumni do not financially support their schools, Mississippi Free Press.
While HBCUs are making strides in alumni giving, they do face unique challenges. Many HBCUs have small fundraising infrastructures and lack funds and staff to conduct extensive alumni outreach campaigns. Furthermore, some HBCU alumni say they haven’t been asked to give back, the HBCU Foundation reported.
Additionally, African Americans have less access to wealth in the U.S., which can impact their ability to make significant donations. Lastly, some public HBCU alumni mistakenly believe that their alma maters are sufficiently funded by state funds.
Howard University alumnus Dominique King founded I Heart My HBCU, a mobile app that allows people to donate their spare change to HBCUs. The app works like other spare change technology — allowing users to round up their credit and debit card purchases and donate to five of their favorite HBCUs. Users can also make monthly or one-time donations to HBCUs using the app, Forbes reported.
“I’ve spoken at more than three dozen HBCUs, and their role for the future of Black America is vital. But in the age of education cutbacks, we must encourage graduates and non-grads to support their mission. I believe that every dollar counts. And I want to use all of my platforms to help drive dollars to our HBCUs,” media personality Roland Martin said in a statement in 2020, calling for more donations to HBCUs, Essence reported. “We can’t rely on government dollars to save our institutions.”
Photo by nappy: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-man-wearing-graduation-cap-935948/