Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the HBCU Transformation Project, a collaboration between the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and the Partnership for Education Advancement, has announced a monumental $124 million investment from the philanthropic organization Blue Meridian Partners.
HBCU Transformation Project
The generous contribution is earmarked to fuel several critical initiatives aimed at enhancing HBCUs, including expanding enrollment, improving operational efficiency, enhancing infrastructure, and advancing economic mobility opportunities for Black students. This transformative step is part of the ongoing efforts to empower and uplift HBCUs across the nation.
Launched in 2022, the HBCU Transformation Project has already garnered the support of 40 HBCUs, and there are expectations of more institutions joining this transformative initiative by the end of the year.
Looking into the future
UNCF President and CEO Michael Lomax expressed his enthusiasm for the investment, emphasizing its potential to shape the future of Black students. “HBCUs have consistently achieved remarkable results with limited resources,” Lomax noted, adding, “This investment is pivotal because it seeks to generate improved outcomes, including increased enrollment, enhanced student retention, and higher graduation rates.”
HBCU Transformation Project getting millions in funding
Lomax went on to stress that the financial injection from Blue Meridian Partners is just one component of the broader transformation required for HBCUs. He stated, “We must establish a robust financial infrastructure for our institutions. While we have received substantial support in recent years, for the previous 150 years, we had little or no support.”
This $124 million commitment builds on Blue Meridian’s initial investment of $60 million in the HBCU Transformation Project, which was directed toward supporting high-performing and high-potential HBCUs.
Surge in Enrollment
According to the HBCU Transformation Project, HBCU enrollment has surged since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Member institutions, like Atlanta’s Morehouse College, were able to leverage funding to train instructors for online teaching when in-person classes were disrupted.
Melvin Foster, Associate Provost for Academic Success at Morehouse College, emphasized the impact of the investment, stating that it would also be used to revamp classrooms and student facilities, as well as modernize educational software utilized in classrooms.
While acknowledging the significant opportunities this substantial gift will create for Black students, Lomax asserted that further financial support is imperative. He underscored the necessity for greater investment in HBCUs to enable students to receive a quality education without accruing crippling levels of debt.