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The UNCF (United Negro College Fund) has announced a $1 billion campaign to enhance endowments at historically Black colleges and universities.

The campaign aims to celebrate 80 years of success in supporting students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs.

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UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities award 15% of bachelor’s degrees, 5% of master’s degrees, 10% of doctoral degrees, and 19% of all STEM degrees earned by Black students in higher education.

UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarships, internships, and fellowships, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs.

Today, UNCF supports more than 50,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities nationwide. The UNCF torch of educational leadership and its widely recognized trademark, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” are featured in its logo.

At a press conference held at Clark Atlanta University, UNCF announced that Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded a $100 million unrestricted grant to support the capital campaign.

The $1 billion capital campaign includes five components: student scholarships, unrestricted funds to enhance the endowments for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), capacity-building programs for member HBCUs (such as technology, training, and research), cash reserves, and endowed funds for UNCF and support for UNCF’s annual campaign.

UNCF has deployed Lilly Endowment’s unrestricted grant to the capital campaign’s objective of building a pooled endowment fund to increase the endowments at UNCF’s 37 member institutions by $10 million each.

UNCF will raise $185 million through its capital campaign, or $5 million per institution. It will collaborate with the institutions to match this contribution through their fundraising efforts. This infusion of $100 million will immediately increase each UNCF member’s endowment by $2.7 million, at least doubling the endowments of several institutions.

Pooled endowments can offer several benefits to HBCUs, including increased investment power to access a broader range of investment opportunities in stocks, bonds, and real estate that can generate higher returns.

In addition, pooled endowments promote collaboration and networking among HBCUs, leading to enhanced fundraising efforts, increased visibility, and improved financial stability.

Research from UNCF’s Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute found that the median endowment for UNCF member institutions is $15.9 million.

After the successful completion of the capital campaign, the median will grow to $25.9 million, an increase of 63%, bringing it closer to the median private college endowment of $214.6 million as determined by the National Association of College University Business Officers (NACUBO).


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