2016’s Million Dollar Donations Come Roaring Back For PWIs, But For HBCUs Not So Much


After a timid 2015 where colleges and universities only saw 482 donations and pledges over $1 million, this was the first time since 2012 that less than 500 such donations had been made, donors came roaring back in 2016 with the largest amount of $1 million or more donations ever with 567 such donations and pledges according to The Center of Philanthropy. However, a rising tide does not always lift all boats as HBCUs witnessed. After a banner year in 2014 of nine gifts of $1 million or more that totaled $20.5 million, HBCUs only saw four in 2015 for a total of $7 million. The 2016 numbers are a bit better than the prior year, but not by much.

HBCUs in 2016 received five donations of $1 million or more for a total of $10.5 million. The leading donation comes from Calvin and Tina Tyler (pictured above with Morgan president David Wilson), who gave $5 million to Morgan State University to endow a scholarship for incoming freshmen from the Baltimore area. A gift that should help increase Morgan State’s ability to compete and keep the talent in their backyard at home.

The arms race that is fundraising continues to be an uphill battle for HBCUs who are dealing with a significantly smaller alumni base due to desegregation’s impact a generation ago. African America’s abandonment of most of their own institutional ownership has seen a starvation of institutions that were built to serve African America’s interest almost to the point of extinction. Whether or not a new awakening is on the horizon is more hopeful than optimistic.

To note, Morgan State University becomes the first HBCU since we began tracking in 2013 to appear more than once.

1. Calvin & Tina Tyler – $5 Million
Recipient: Morgan State University
Source of Wealth: UPS

2. James & Marilyn Simons – $2.5 Million*
Recipient: Morehouse College
Source of Wealth: Finance

3. Leonard & Louise Riggio – $1 Million                                                        Recipient: Spelman College
Source of Wealth: Retail

4. Sean Combs – $1 Million*                                                                                    Recipient: Howard University
Source of Wealth: Entertainment

5. Joe Jr. & Kathy Sanderson – $1 Million
Recipient: Alcorn State University
Source of Wealth: Food & Beverage

*Pledge

Source: The Center for Philanthropy

 

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