Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country saw an increase in funding from private donors and large corporations after the murder of George Floyd last May.
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), which advocates for public and private funding for public HBCUs, has reported large donations to many of the universities it represents.
Harry L. Williams, president of TMCF, said the fiscal year, which started last summer, has been a record-breaking year.
“With the social unrest with George Floyd, we have seen an uptick in the amount of support for our HBCUs in this country, and one of the major supporters has been MacKenzie Scott,” Williams said, according to NPR.
North Carolina A&T State University raised $88 million since last summer. Scott donated $45 million, which offered a rare opportunity for university leaders to spend the money as they see fit, rather than abiding by the whims of a donor.
Scott, author, philanthropist and ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is a stockholder in the e-commerce giant. She donated half a billion dollars to more than a dozen HBCUs, including Howard University and Prairie View A&M University.
Williams hopes the money, along with federal COVID-19 funding, will help raise awareness of HBCUs as a means to invest in Black communities. His next concern is how to sustain the fundraising boom.
“We don’t want it to be a one hit wonder,” he said, according to NPR. “We don’t want it to be just ‘Hey, this was one of those outlier years, and you’ll never see this again.’ We’re working very hard to keep this as part of the dialogue.”