Author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, one of the world’s wealthiest women, has been on a mission of giving since her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. She announced yesterday that among the groups she has selected for this round of charitable gifts are several historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
HBCUs have always fallen far behind white schools in endowments — simply because well-endowed white schools have had many well-heeled wealthy former students who can afford to give their alma maters large donations.
Bloomburg reported on “the endowment gap” back in 2017.
[…]none of the ninety institutions of higher education in the U.S. with endowments of more than $1 billion is an HBCU, and even the wealthiest of the HBCUs, Howard University in Washington, D.C., only ranks a hundred and sixtieth on the list, with an endowment of $578 million — just 2 percent of that of top-ranking Harvard University, which has an endowment of $35.7 billion. The impact of such a discrepancy is profound: the bigger a school’s endowment, the more it can spend on attracting highly qualified students, regardless of need, and on providing those students with the academic services they need to succeed.
Scott posted “384 Ways to Help” on Medium yesterday.
After my post in July, I asked a team of advisors to help me accelerate my 2020 giving through immediate support to people suffering the economic effects of the crisis. They took a data-driven approach to identifying organizations with strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital.
The result over the last four months has been $4,158,500,000 in gifts to 384 organizations across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C. Some are filling basic needs: food banks, emergency relief funds, and support services for those most vulnerable. Others are addressing long-term systemic inequities that have been deepened by the crisis: debt relief, employment training, credit and financial services for under-resourced communities, education for historically marginalized and underserved people, civil rights advocacy groups, and legal defense funds that take on institutional discrimination.
HBCUs have certainly had “low access to philanthropic capital.”
Joyous responses to her “no-strings” gifts were immediately posted to social media.
I spy more HBCUs receiving historic gifts from MacKenzie Scott! A&T, Alcorn, Bowie, Morgan, Clark, Prairie View, Delaware State, Dillard…YES! Let's keep it going @mackenziescott! A great goal to set is a donation for every #HBCU!https://t.co/wQ2cCjH6AK
— Dr. Nicki Washington (@dr_nickiw) December 15, 2020
#MacKenzieScott announced on her 2nd major charitable contribution of 2020, giving away $4.2B to various orgs, including several more #HBCUs. Scott previously gifted HBCUs (Hampton, Howard, Morehouse, Spelman, Tuskegee & Xavier) back in July. ???????? pic.twitter.com/cbPjk9vSel
— HBCU Alum (@theHBCUalum) December 16, 2020
BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: Morgan State University receives a historic gift of $40M from philanthropist @MackenzieScott.
This is the largest individual donation in Morgan history and will support student success, spur research and further our strategic plan ➡️ https://t.co/7FR5d0yQtx
— Morgan State University (@MorganStateU) December 15, 2020
Virginia State University (VSU) has received the largest single donor gift in the 138-year history of the University. Author and Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has gifted VSU $30 Million. pic.twitter.com/JsSM8HhX9f
— VirginiaStateUniversity (@VSU_1882) December 15, 2020
Great News! Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has announced a $5 million gift to Dillard University! The largest single gift the University has ever received from an individual.#myDU #FairDillard pic.twitter.com/ish4OTexYF
— Dillard University (@du1869) December 15, 2020
HBCU GameDay reported on the full list.
As the proud daughter of two HBCU graduates, and as a former Howard University student, I’m grateful that Ms. Scott has seen fit to appreciate the importance of HBCUs in our community.
As a nation we are reaping the benefits.
Here’s an example.
— The Vice President is a Bison (@HopeisaBison) December 10, 2020
Thank you MacKenzie Scott!
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.