Credit: UNCF


The UNCF unveiled a monumental $1 billion capital campaign during a press conference held at Clark Atlanta University yesterday.

In a move to bolster historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) unveiled a monumental $1 billion capital campaign during a press conference held at Clark Atlanta University yesterday. The catalyst for this initiative is a $100 million unrestricted grant awarded by Lilly Endowment Inc.

Dr. Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO of UNCF, expressed gratitude for the historic grant, stating, “Since our founding in 1944, Lilly Endowment has been a consistent and significant philanthropic supporter. This $100 million grant is the largest unrestricted private grant we have ever received.”

The $1 billion campaign encompasses five key components: student scholarships, unrestricted funds to enhance HBCU endowments, capacity-building programs for member institutions, cash reserves, and support for UNCF’s annual campaign.

Notably, the $100 million grant from Lilly Endowment will be instrumental in building a pooled endowment fund, aiming to increase the endowments of UNCF’s 37 member institutions by $10 million each. Dr. Lomax emphasized the transformative impact: “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.”

Establishing a pooled endowment fund managed by UNCF is a strategic move to enhance the financial stability of member HBCUs. Pooled endowments offer increased investment power, access to a broader range of investment opportunities, and the potential for higher returns. Additionally, collaboration among HBCUs can lead to enhanced fundraising efforts, increased visibility, and improved financial stability.

Research from UNCF’s Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute indicates that the median endowment for UNCF member institutions is $15.9 million. After the successful completion of the capital campaign, the median endowment is projected to grow to $25.9 million, a significant 63% increase.

N. Clay Robbins, Lilly Endowment’s Chairman and CEO, expressed confidence in the campaign’s impact, stating, “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.”

Marc Barnes, Senior Vice President of the capital campaign at UNCF, highlighted the grant’s far-reaching impact, noting, “This grant from Lilly Endowment is far-reaching and long-lasting. It will change the financial trajectory of many HBCUs for many years to come.”

UNCF Board Chair Milton H. Jones, Jr., commended Lilly Endowment for their commitment, stating, “This historic grant is going to provide great momentum for our capital campaign and now serves as a catalyst for others in the philanthropic community to join us as we take our member HBCUs to the next level.”

Clark Atlanta University President and UNCF Institutional Board Chair Dr. George T. French, Jr., described the major accomplishment, “Today’s announcement is a major accomplishment and will provide unprecedented support for the financial stability and continued success of UNCF’s member institutions. Our campuses stand ready to work with UNCF to accomplish the $370 million goal for the pooled unrestricted endowment.” 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.