Tag Archives: Howard University

Why Do HBCUs Not Bank With Black Banks?

It could all be so simple But you‘d rather make it hard, loving you is like a battle and we both end up with scars. – Lauryn Hill

Something that should be so simple, HBCUs and other African American organizations, businesses, and other African American institutions have made not just a battle but sometimes it feels like a war. That battle, getting African American institutions to bank with the African American banking system with banks and/or credit unions owned and controlled by – African Americans. It is economic development 101 for other groups, but for African America it is seemingly Calculus III. Based on HBCU Money’s internal research on the matter only two, a PBI and HBCU, are believed to bank with a Black-owned bank. That means that just like the over 90 percent of African Americans who go to college not choosing HBCUs, well over 90 percent of HBCUs do not bank with a Black-owned bank. And in both cases, neither (AAOBs or HBCUs) are able to fulfill their potential as they would with the patronage and investment of those they were built to serve.

We asked the AI app Nova for their take on why HBCUs do not bank with African American owned banks and here was its answer: “There are a few reasons why many HBCUs may not bank with Black-owned banks. One reason is that larger, more established banks often offer more resources and services that HBCUs may need, such as investment services or customized financial solutions. Additionally, some HBCUs may feel more comfortable with larger, more established banks that have a long history of working with educational institutions. However, there has been a growing movement encouraging HBCUs to support Black-owned banks and businesses as a way to promote economic empowerment within the Black community. Many Black-owned banks have a strong commitment to supporting HBCUs, and may offer specialized products and services tailored to their needs.”

Despite AI being quite learned in its contribution to this. There are as they say – levels to this. Not least among them is the plight of public HBCUs lacking autonomy. It would take a massive student and alumni uprising in order to get a public HBCUs moved to an African American owned bank. Ultimately, public HBCUs are controlled by a board or if they are in a system, then a system’s board. In either case, the state’s flagship PWIs carrying the most financial weight and tend to be determinate of how all public universities in the state will behave and most certainly likely where they will bank. And while it is complicated to wrangle the institutional banking of public HBCUs into African American owned banks, their proxy organizations like alumni associations and foundations that serve them should not have anywhere near the issue of banking Black. Then there are the private HBCUs who have far more autonomy with their banking decisions and yet it seems potentially only one private HBCU actually banks Black. It is almost befuddling in the case of the Alabama and Georgia HBCUs not to bank Black. They both have two African American Owned Banks in headquartered in their states. Morehouse specifically just a few years ago had one of their alumni bring back African American owned banking to Oklahoma when alumnus Kevin Perry purchased controlling interest in First Security Bank & Trust. In fact, 14 of the 15 states and territories where there are African American owned banks have HBCUs/PBIs in them with Wisconsin being the lone exception.

African America’s flagship HBCU, Howard University, two years ago entered into a partnership with PNC Bank to create the PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship housed at Howard University. PNC’s Foundation providing Howard University with a rather obtuse $3.4 million a year grant for five years. PNC Bank is based in Pittsburgh,PA, its executive team in 2022 commanded $81 million in compensation, and the bank has assets over $550 billion – an amount that is over 100 times the size of all 16 remaining African American Owned Banks’ assets combined. We think Marcus Garvey just rolled over in his grave. Meanwhile, right in Howard University’s backyard is Industrial Bank, an African American Owned Bank with $723 million in assets, meaning PNC Bank has over 760 times the amount of assets of Industrial. There is in fact only one African American Owned Bank that has over $1 billion in assets, Liberty Bank & Trust in Louisiana.

That HBCU presidents and AAOB CEOs do not have closer relationships simply speaks to the island mentality that African American institutions as a whole have. Although our community loves to parrot the harsh reality of an African American dollar that does not circulate in our community’s even 6 hours while “the average lifespan of the dollar is approximately 28 days in Asian communities, 19 days in Jewish communities, 17 days in white communities”, according to a piece by the FAMUAN (see how we are circulating HBCU media capital). This has done nothing to make HBCU administrators understand that the circulation of the African American institutional dollar is far more impactful than the African American consumer collar. Despite as recently as 2017, there were four African American Owned Banks with HBCU alumni as CEOs. It is also not just on HBCUs, but AAOBs should be doing a better job of heavily pursuing those HBCUs that do have the autonomy to decide where they bank and forging deep relationships with them at multiple levels.

By forging that relationship HBCUs and AAOBs can multiply the probability of opportunities and profitability. That way when an HBCU alum creates the next Google, SpaceX, FedEx, or other Fortune 500 company, then they will already know the importance of banking with an AAOB and hiring HBCU alumni. It will be understood because the intentionality of our ecosystem’s success will be modeled and molded and as a result our community is empowered with success a rule and not the outlier it operates in now as so many of us continue to try and build a nation as an island instead of forging together.

How Much Would The SWAC/MEAC Earn If Texas Southern University & Howard University Made The Final Four?

How Much is 1 Unit Worth?

“The value of one unit changes each year, and in 2022, it is estimated to be $338,887. That’s up a little bit from 2021, when a unit was worth $337,141.” according to Boardroom.

Here’s how it all plays out:

  • The SWAC/MEAC sent two teams to the NCAA Tournament: Texas Southern University and Howard University.
  • The two teams have earned one ECF unit for the SWAC/MEAC by making it to the tournament ($338,887 x 2 = $677,774).
  • Let’s say Texas Southern University wins the 16/16 play in game in the First Four. By then playing the traditional 16/1 (the First Round), Texas Southern gets another unit for the SWAC and gives it the possibility of earning seven units versus Howard University being able to earn a maximum of six units due to not having to play in a play-in game.*
  • Let’s say Texas Southern and Howard both lose their 16/1 games. Texas Southern University would have earned two units and Howard University would have earned one unit.*
  • Should both win and then have a Second Round loss. That’s one more unit for both and nothing more.
  • Now, let’s say both go on a miracle run to the national championship game. They would earn an additional unit for playing in the Second Round, Sweet 16, Elite Eight, and National Semifinal, for a total of thirteen units.
  • In total, this gives the SWAC/MEAC 13 units from this tournament, to be paid each year for the next six years, resulting in a total of $4.41M annually given to the SWAC/MEAC. That’s $26.43M total, which the conference will pay out to each of its 20 teams. If distributed equally, that’s $220,250 per school, per year, for a total of $1.32M.**

*HBCU Money was not able to confirm that the play-in game is worth an additional unit but serves as one in our example.

**Wins in the semifinals or final don’t count for units.

HBCU Money’s 2022 Top 10 HBCU Endowments

When the PWIs have a cold, then HBCUs have pneumonia. That common saying in African America is as true today as it has ever been and among HBCU endowments in 2022 it reverberated across the landscape. Of the top ten HBCUs that reported their endowments to NACUBO that only two out of ten showed a positive gain versus three out of ten showing positive gains among PWIs. The caveat there is the top PWI endowments are all operating with a minimum of $15 billion. An amount that ranges from six times the size of all HBCU top ten endowments combined and all the way up to twenty four times the size of the top ten HBCU endowments combined by UTIMCO, the managing entity of the Texas A&M and University of Texas endowments. UTIMCO is actually $10 billion larger than Harvard’s endowment. It poses an interesting lesson that many HBCUs should consider – merging their endowments and/or foundations for economic and capital scale capabilities. Virginia State University and Norfolk State University. Prairie View A&M University and Texas Southern University. A really aggressive strategy of course would be to have endowments at the conference level, but that will be an article for another time.

2022 was a down year in the markets which inevitably had an outsized negative impact on HBCU endowments who are less likely to be invested in venture capital, private equity, or other alternative investments that hedge against the volatility of the stock markets. HBCU endowments limited capital usually means limited investment options and those options tend to be heavily tied to public equity markets. It also did not help that just a few years removed from George Floyd’s death when HBCUs saw over thirty million dollar plus donations that in 2022, HBCUs only saw a whopping three while their PWI counterparts had fourteen donations over $100 million.

Without HBCUs capturing more than ten percent of the African American students going to college, then this struggle is likely to persist. Simply put, HBCUs need much larger alumni pools to even start to put a dent in the endowment gap long term.

The PWI-HBCU Endowment Gap for 2022 stands at $127.5 to $1, which is an increase from 2021’s $121.7 to $1.


  • Top 10 HBCU Endowment Total – $2.5 billion
  • Top 10 PWI Endowment Total – $318.8 billion
  • Number of PWIs Above $2 billion – 69
  • Number of PWIs Above $1 billion – 136
  • HBCU Median – $138.0 million (-8.4%)
  • NACUBO Median – $208.7 million (-9.6%)
  • HBCU Average – $217.9 million (-8.7%)
  • NACUBO Average – $1.2 billion (-5.1%)

All values are in millions ($000)*

1. Howard University – $862,784 (7.0%)

2. Spelman College – $459,463 (-13.4%)

3.  Hampton University – $348,849 (-8.2%)

4.  Morehouse College – $186,523 (-9.7%)

5.  Meharry Medical College – $169,169 (-9.5%)

6. North Carolina A&T State University  – $164,541 (4.6%)

7. Florida A&M University – $111,477 (-6.3%)

8. Morgan State University – $89,516 (-8.5%)

9. Norfolk State University – $71,161 (-10.9%)

10. Virginia State University – $69,564 (-7.3%)


*The change in market value does NOT represent the rate of return for the institution’s investments. Rather, the change in the market value of an endowment from FY21 to FY22 reflects the net impact of:
1) withdrawals to fund institutional operations and capital expenses;
2) the payment of endowment management and investment fees;
3) additions from donor gifts and other contributions; and
4) investment gains or losses.


Take a look at how an endowment works. Not only scholarships to reduce the student debt burden but research, recruiting talented faculty & students, faculty salaries, and a host of other things can be paid for through a strong endowment. It ultimately is the lifeblood of a college or university to ensure its success generation after generation.

The Love Is GONE: 2022’s HBCU Million Dollar Gifts

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Arguably, there are not enough donations in 2022 to even warrant an analysis but we are going to give it a try. The acute analysis is that HBCUs and alumni are going to have to prioritize creating wealthier alumni and using their alumni associations to leverage more aggressive investment vehicles which may otherwise be out of bounds for the institutions themselves. It also speaks to giving real thought to policies and strategy that can assist in that wealth creation. Reducing student loan debt loads, reducing time spent in maturation, increasing financial literacy requirements, and more need to be among serious conversation in order to help alumni get on the footing to wealth in both speed and probability. Years like this have been far too many in the midst of also battling underfunding by state and federal government. Not to mention the outright assault PWIs have launched in recent decades of trying to out HBCU HBCUs for African Americans and other minority groups. Of the three companies (pictured above) responsible for the wealth that allowed these individuals to give their Million Dollar Gifts – none were African American owned firms and their combined market caps were over $600 billion – an amount that is almost 40 percent of African America’s entire buying power. Something else that needs to be strongly considered in the wealth development conversation among alumni and administrations. Why are our alumni not creating more firms that can lead to transformative wealth and what can we do to assist?

Overall donations to all colleges and universities were down significantly in 2022 dropping under 300 Million Dollar Gifts given for the first time since 2010. This seems to be a fairly direct correlation to the economy and stock market’s rough 2022. Given that most wealthy donors have major investments tied to business ownership and investments and the Federal Reserve putting forth monetary policy in 2022 that many argued slammed the brakes on the stock market, it is no surprise that wealthy donors deemed themselves quite skittish. And per usual, when America/PWIs get a cold, then African America/HBCUs get pneumonia as seen by only 3 Million Dollar Gifts finding their way to HBCUs. None from HBCU alumni. The median donation was 2 to 1 in terms of donor value and the average donation was 4.5 to 1 in terms of donor value between PWI MDGs and HBCU MDGs. 2022 also provided the very first $1 billion donation to a college or university with Stanford University receiving a $1.1 billion pledge from John and Ann Doerr (both whom are Rice University alumnus).

This is a concerning trend going into uncertain financial times for the U.S. economy in particular. Colleges overall do tend to pick up more students during recessionary times with people losing jobs many see it as an opportunity to go to school or back to school. Unfortunately, tuition revenue is already too much of what HBCUs rely heavily upon and those new students are not likely in any position to give Million Dollar Gifts in the near future. HBCU philanthropy as it pertains to Million Dollar Gifts operates largely on a lottery like reality both relying on hope and depending on those outside of the culture and outside the alumni bases. With the changing sands of higher education shifting beneath our feet the resources to see tomorrow grow urgent with every passing day.

$1 Million Plus Donations To All Colleges: 275

$100 Million Plus Donations To All Colleges: 14

$1 Million Plus Donations Value To All Colleges: $7.1 Billion

$1 Million Plus Median Donation To All Colleges: $10.0 Million

$1 Million Plus Average Donation To All Colleges: $25.9 Million

$1 Million Plus Donations To HBCUs: 3

$100 Million Plus Donations To HBCUs: 0

$1 Million Plus Donations Value To HBCUs: $17.0 Million

$1 Million Plus Median Donation To HBCUs: $5.0 Million

$1 Million Plus Average Donation To HBCUs: $5.7 Million

HBCU Percentage of Donations To All Colleges: 1.1%

HBCU Percentage of Donation Value To All Colleges: 0.2%

1. Arthur M. Blank (pictured) – $10.0 million
Recipient: Spelman College
Source of Wealth: Home Depot

2. Reed Hastings & Patty Quillin – $5.0 million
Recipient: Tougaloo College
Source of Wealth: Media & Entertainment

3. Kenneth Chenault & Kathryn Chenault   – $2.0 million
Recipient: Howard University
Source of Wealth: Education

Source: Chronicle of Philanthropy

It Was Nice While It Lasted: 2021 Million Dollar HBCU Donations Drop By 73 Percent

The results of philanthropy are beyond calculation, but they are calculated. – William A. Foster, IV

After 2020 gave us unprecedented major giving to HBCUs, the fairy dust wore off just as quickly come 2021. Had this year been not followed by 2020, then arguably it would be a good year by normal standards. Instead, it is a harsh reminder that HBCUs rarely on any level receive an equitable share of funding both by state and federal governments and private giving to colleges and universities. 2020’s giving it could be argued was a response to the protests and social unrest that spilled over from the death of George Floyd. However, as we stated previously that is neither sustainable and questionably moral. This year’s list while significantly smaller looks much the same as last year in that it is buoyance is upheld by donors outside of the African American community.

HBCUs were able to pull in three percent of the million plus donations to all colleges and universities, which constitutes their makeup in the overall landscape of the higher education system. However, the value of those donations amounted to less than one percent of the overall donation value to colleges and universities. A significant drop off from 2020’s astounding 15 percent of donation value. Very interested to note that PWIs saw donations of $100 million plus double from 2020 to 2021 going from seven to fourteen. No HBCU has ever seen a nine-figure donation and there are only a handful of African Americans capable of doing so. This once again leaves the fate of African American NPOs in the hands of other community’s wealth and generosity. It also begs the question for the survival of HBCUs in particular long-term. Despite 2020’s gifts, we would be remiss to act as if one year of donations can rectify over one hundred plus years of negligence and fiscal hostility.

MacKenzie Scott continued to be HBCUs’ best friend with two of the ten donations on the list coming from her philanthropy. Mr. and Mrs. Tyler’s donation is one of the largest alumni gifts (if not the largest) ever to an HBCU. Worthy of a conversation itself is that HBCUs are still not producing a pipeline of wealthy alumni. Something critical to increasing the probability of transformative donors into HBCU coffers. With only two known HBCU billionaires among all of its alumni, the question of “Can HBCUs Produce Billionaires?” remains not only a relevant question, but an absolutely necessary conversation that must be had between HBCU alumni and administrations.

$1 Million Plus Donations To All Colleges: 316

$100 Million Plus Donations To All Colleges: 14

$1 Million Plus Donations Value To All Colleges: $8.1 Billion

$1 Million Plus Median Donation To All Colleges: $11.1 Million

$1 Million Plus Average Donation To All Colleges: $25.5 Million

$1 Million Plus Donations To HBCUs: 10

$100 Million Plus Donations To HBCUs: 0

$1 Million Plus Donations Value To HBCUs: $66.7 Million

$1 Million Plus Median Donation To HBCUs: $4.0 Million

$1 Million Plus Average Donation To HBCUs: $6.7 Million

HBCU Percentage of Donations To All Colleges: 3.2%

HBCU Percentage of Donation Value To All Colleges: 0.8%

1. MacKenzie Scott  – $20 million
Recipient: Charles R. Drew Medicine
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

2. Calvin E. Tyler and Tina Tyler (pictured bottom right) – $20 million
Recipient: Morgan State University
Source of Wealth: N/A

3. S. Donald Sussman  – $6 million
Recipient: University of the Virgin Islands
Source of Wealth: Finance

4. Eddie Brown and Sylvia Brown (pictured bottom left) – $5 million
Recipient: Howard University
Source of Wealth: Investments

5. Anonymous Donor – $5 million
Recipient: Howard University
Source of Wealth: N/A

6. Shervin Pishevar and Sarah Pishevar Haynes – $3 million
Recipient: Howard University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Finance, Transportation

7. Frank Garrison and Amy Garrison – $2.5 million
Recipient: Fisk University
Source of Wealth: Finance, Real Estate, Law

8. Anonymous Donor – $2.2 million
Recipient: Alabama A&M University
Source of Wealth: N/A

9. MacKenzie Scott – $2 million
Recipient: Meharry Medical College
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

10. Mark Malveaux and Dawn Malveaux (pictured top) – $1 million
Recipient: Southern University System
Source of Wealth: Law

Source: Chronicle of Philanthropy