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UNPRECEDENTED: MacKenzie Scott Transforms HBCU Endowments With A Flurry Of Million Dollar Gifts In 2020

Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving. – Erma Bombeck

The year of George Floyd’s death and the European American guilt that accompanied it can be argued was the catalyst that led to the largest flurry of million dollar plus donations to HBCUs ever seen and it was led almost solely by one woman – MacKenzie Scott, the quietly known co-founder of Amazon who has emerged as a powerhouse in the world of philanthropy. Of the reported 37 donations of $1 million or more as reported by the Chronicle of Philanthropy to HBCUs, Ms. Scott is responsible for 22 of them. Her donation to Prairie View A&M University was the largest in the school’s history and the largest ever to a public HBCU. Questions of where the money actually ends up and who is managing it given Prairie View’s relationship to Texas A&M are worth investigation by PVAMU alumni. All the same, HBCU endowments began 2020 standing at approximately $2.1 billion combined. 2020’s million dollar plus donations to HBCUs are equivalent to roughly 33 percent of that – in one year. To put in perspective, these donations to HBCUs in 2020 were greater than Howard University’s 150 plus year old endowment and would be the equivalent of someone donating approximately $15 billion to Harvard’s endowment, which Ms. Scott actually could do. Again, unprecedented.

We have expanded our review of the data collected to include more information regarding those major donations to HBCUs as well as their presence in the overall landscape of major donations to all colleges and universities. Are HBCUs getting their share? Although HBCUs make up three percent of the United States higher education ecosystem, they do not tend to receive three percent of the philanthropic donations or value. This year breaks the mold with HBCUs receiving over 11 percent of the major donations and over 15 percent of the major donation value. Unprecedented is putting it mildly. While this infusion is beyond needed and could not come at a better time as many higher education institutions across the country are having real questions of future and long-term fiscal viability, those with well position endowments have far less to worry about in their ability to have the resources necessary to pivot in an ever changing education landscape. Despite this landslide of donations, there are still no HBCUs with a $1 billion endowment or more. Howard University is still leading the way and looking like the inevitable first, but after Howard and Spelman, there are a myriad of questions and concerns as to the endowment health of every other HBCU.

Despite no African American having the wealth to give at the scale of MacKenzie Scott, it still begs the question of where are the African American wealthy in making major donations to HBCUs on a more consistent and sustainable basis. Only 4 of the 37 donations on 2020’s list come from African American families. George Floyd’s death was clearly a catalyst for much of this giving to African American institutions in 2020, but relying on Black death as a means to spur major giving is morally problematic and acutely unsustainable. There is no reason that this list every year is not made up of predominantly African Diaspora and African American households. For reasons that are complex though, that has still yet to happen. It is also worth noting which schools received donations. While the usual suspects of Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Howard University are there, one-third of the donations went to public HBCUs whom rarely find themselves in the philanthropic spotlight. Lesser known, but just as important HBCUs like Claflin University, Lincoln University (PA), and Xavier University (LA) also showed up. A vital need is for the smaller HBCUs to receive major gifts, HBCUs like Texas College, Florida Memorial University, Virginia University at Lynchburg also badly need to receive major gifts to shore up their fiscal futures. African American households must be the one to lead that charge if major giving to HBCUs is to be burning bright tomorrow and not just a firecracker today.

$1 Million Plus Donations To All Colleges: 329

$100 Million Plus Donations To All Colleges: 7

$1 Million Plus Donations Value To All Colleges: $4.7 Billion

$1 Million Plus Median Donation To All Colleges: $6.0 Million

$1 Million Plus Average Donation To All Colleges: $14.4 Million

$1 Million Plus Donations To HBCUs: 37*

$100 Million Plus Donations To HBCUs: 0

$1 Million Plus Donations Value To HBCUs: $716.7 Million

$1 Million Plus Median Donation To HBCUs: $20.0 Million

$1 Million Plus Average Donation To HBCUs: $19.4 Million

HBCU Percentage of Donations To All Colleges: 11.2%

HBCU Percentage of Donation Value To All Colleges: 15.2%

1. MacKenzie Scott (pictured) – $50 million
Recipient: Prairie View A&M University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

2. MacKenzie Scott – $45 million
Recipient: North Carolina A&T State University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

3. Reed Hastings & Patty Quillin  – $40 million
Recipient: Morehouse College
Source of Wealth: Technology

4. Reed Hastings & Patty Quillin – $40 million
Recipient: Spelman College
Source of Wealth: Technology

5. Reed Hastings & Patty Quillin – $40 million
Recipient: United Negro College Fund
Source of Wealth: Technology

6. MacKenzie Scott – $40 million
Recipient: Morgan State University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

7. MacKenzie Scott – $40 million
Recipient: Norfolk State University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

8. MacKenzie Scott – $40 million
Recipient: Howard University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

9. MacKenzie Scott – $30 million
Recipient: Virginia State University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

10. MacKenzie Scott– $30 million
Recipient: Winston-Salem State University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

11. MacKenzie Scott – $30 million
Recipient: Hampton University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

12. MacKenzie Scott – $25 million
Recipient: Alcorn State University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

13. MacKenzie Scott – $25 million
Recipient: Bowie State University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

14. MacKenzie Scott  – $20 million
Recipient: Claflin University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

15. MacKenzie Scott – $20 million
Recipient: Delaware State University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

16. MacKenzie Scott – $20 million
Recipient: Lincoln University (PA)
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

17. MacKenzie Scott – $20 million
Recipient: Tuskegee University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

18. MacKenzie Scott – $20 million
Recipient: Xavier University (Louisiana)
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

19. MacKenzie Scott – $20 million
Recipient: Morehouse College
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

20. MacKenzie Scott – $20 million
Recipient: University of Maryland-Eastern Shore
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

21. MacKenzie Scott – $20 million
Recipient: Spelman College
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

22. MacKenzie Scot– $15 million
Recipient: Clark Atlanta University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

23. MacKenzie Scott – $15 million
Recipient: Elizabeth City State University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

24. Anonymous Donor – $10 million
Recipient: Prairie View A&M University
Source of Wealth: N/A

25. Bruce Karsh and Martha Karsh  – $10 million
Recipient: Howard University
Source of Wealth: Finance

26. Seth Klarman and Beth Klarman – $10 million
Recipient: Spelman College
Source of Wealth: Finance

27. MacKenzie Scott – $6 million
Recipient: Tougaloo College
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

28. MacKenzie Scott – $5 million
Recipient: Dillard University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

29. Oprah Winfrey – $2 million
Recipient: Tennessee State University
Source of Wealth: Media & Entertainment

30. Matthew Cullinan and Anna Reilly – $1.7 million
Recipient: Winston-Salem State University
Source of Wealth: Education

31. Jim Murren and Heather Murren – $1 million
Recipient: Howard University
Source of Wealth: Finance

32. Charles Butt – $1 million
Recipient: Prairie View A&M University
Source of Wealth: Retail

33. Charles Barkley – $1 million
Recipient: Miles College
Source of Wealth: Entertainment

34. Kenneth Chenault and Kathryn Chenault – $1 million
Recipient: Morehouse College
Source of Wealth: Finance

35. Joan Johnson – $1 million
Recipient: Spelman College
Source of Wealth: Retail

36. Frank Baker & Laura Day  – $1 million
Recipient: Spelman College
Source of Wealth: Finance

37. Charles Barkley – $1 million
Recipient: Tuskegee University
Source of Wealth: Entertainment

Source: Chronicle of Philanthropy

*Michael Bloomberg’s pledge of $100 million in 2020 to the 4 HBCU medical schools was not included in our list which was sourced strictly from the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The 2019-2020 SWAC/MEAC Athletic Financial Review

In the fourth HBCU Money report on the SWAC/MEAC’s athletic finances, there has been one trend that is consistent – an acute amount of red on the balance sheet of each respective HBCU as it pertains to their athletic departments and it continues to grow redder and redder. Since HBCU Money first began reporting the SWAC/MEAC Athletic Financial Review, there have been losses of $128.6 million (2014-2015), $147.1 million (2016-2017), $150.7 million (2017-2018), and this year they continue their trend of the athletic black hole with losses over $161 million through athletics with no correction in sight. Not exactly the cash generating juggernauts that HBCU alumni have in mind when it comes to how deeply many believe that athletics can be the financial savior to HBCU financial prosperity. Instead, athletics seems to be potentially at the crux of many HBCU financial woes. Almost unfathomable is that many in the SWAC/MEAC have athletic budgets higher than their research budgets.

The harsh reality is that even with all the popularity buzz generated by Jackson State University’s head football coach, Deion Sanders, the factors working against HBCU athletics ever achieving real profitability remains a pipe dream at best. To land a major television contract, which is the only reason on mass that the SEC and Big 10 are the profitable athletic programs they are requires something that HBCU alumni bases severely lack. Large fan bases that have high incomes and an affluence. The harsh reality that HBCUs have small alumni bases, a reality that has been exacerbated post-desegregation where now HBCUs only get 9 percent of African Americans in college, combined with African America having both the lowest median income and wealth do not make for a recipe for advertisers to pay top dollar to television stations who would then healthily compensate HBCU institutions. HBCU athletics can be profitable, but it requires a completely different business model than our PWI counterparts. See, “The 5 Steps To HBCU Athletic Profitability”.

HBCU athletic revenues went down while expenses and subsidies went up in 2019-2020. That is usually a trend all would prefer be flipped. Students continue to bear the brunt of generating HBCU athletic revenues. This year’s review shows that approximately 73 percent of HBCU athletic revenues are generated through subsidies, up from 70 percent the year prior. Something to consider when 90 percent of HBCU students graduate with student loan debt.

REVENUES (in millions)

Total: $200.4 (down 1.2% from 2017-2018)

Median: $10.3 (down 4.6% from 2017-2018)

Average: $10.6  (up 5.0% from 2017-2018)

Highest revenue: Prairie View A&M University  $18.7 million

Lowest revenue: Coppin State University  $2.8 million

EXPENSES (in millions)

Total: $213.0 (up 0.5% from 2017-2018)

Median: $12.5 (up 15.7% from 2017-2018)

Average: $11.2 (up 5.7% from 2017-2018)

Highest expenses: Prairie View A&M University  $18.7 million

Lowest expenses: Mississippi Valley State University  $3.9 million


Total: $148.4 (up 4.9% from 2017-2018)

Median: $6.4 (down 18.4% from 2017-2018)

Average: $7.1 (unchanged from 2017-2018)

Highest subsidy: Prairie View A&M University $15.5 million

Lowest subsidy: Coppin State University $1.7 million

Highest % of revenues: Delaware State University: 92.0%

Lowest % of revenues: Florida A&M University: 37.0%


Total: $-12.7 million (down 40.0% from 2017-2018)

Median: $0 (up 100.0% from 2017-2018)

Average: $-666,295 (down 46.3% from 2017-2018)

Highest profit/loss: North Carolina A&T State University  $615,094

Lowest profit/loss: North Carolina Central University  $-6,264,082


Total: $-161.0 million (down 6.8% from 2017-2018)

Median: $-9.8 million (down 40.0% from 2017-2018)

Average: $-8.5 million (down 13.3% from 2017-2018)

Highest profit/loss: Mississippi Valley State University  $-2,177,123

Lowest profit/loss: Prairie View A&M University  $-15,417,471

CONCLUSION: At current, it would take an approximately $4.3 billion endowment dedicated to athletics to ween the SWAC/MEAC off of these subsidies onto a sustainable path. A sum greater than all HBCU endowments combined. Perhaps through merchandise sales, Jackson State could see its way to profitability without subsidies. Perhaps, but as former HBCU alumnus and NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe recently said, “There is only one Deion Sanders”. One thing is for certain, HBCUs have not done a proper cost-benefit analysis for the money they spend and subsidize to their athletic departments nor have they explored potential alternative models.

Editor’s Note: Howard and Bethune-Cookman are excluded in this report because they are private institutions and their athletic finances were not included in this report.

Source: USA Today

Financier & Norfolk State University Alumnus Ralph Newsome Publishes Children’s Financial Literacy Book

What was the inspiration behind writing this book? I’m a financial book worm and I was trying to find a good introduction book on finances for my daughter and all the books that I came across were either to basic or flat out incorrect.  So, I felt the need to address the problem. 

Your book is definitely targeted at the youth, which we know is a great time to teach about finances. Why did you decide to tackle this age group?  This age group is essential to really move the needle for the next leaders of the world to be totally financially independent. Let’s be honest most kids will receive little to no financial education while in school and at home. Most kids will have to play catch up the rest of their lives.  Repeating the same statements or questions: “If only I would have known this” or “why didn’t someone tell me about that”. I call that the generational trap or curse; most kids do not have the rich uncle to rescue them from a life of financial mishaps so this book will be their rich uncle, mentor, parent if you will. 

You live, eat, and breathe finance and investments, was there anything particularly new or challenging you experienced while writing the book? Yes! Where do I draw the line? There was so much I wanted to add to the book because I believe people are only given the bare minimum of information and then they are left to make critical decisions with very little data. I wanted to break the cycle of a lack of information with a powerful packed book.  I would rather have people complain that the book is overkill than to complain about it being like every other basic book on the market. 

Is there something you would like to see HBCUs and HBCU Alumni Associations do to help further financial literacy and aptitude in our community? Absolutely; it starts with a conversation on finances. I believe people either are too prideful to admit that they need help with finances or they are afraid of being ridicule for not knowing something.  A lot of times, in the Black community, money talk is taboo. Either because family members or friends get offended if someone well off brings up money or it’s perceived as though the well-off person is bragging.  Lastly, the well-off person may not want to bring up money because they may feel as though people will beg for money or the “you too good now” or “money really changed you” statements may come.  I know that was a little off topic but we have to address these issues.  More specifically HBCUs need to be open to using Alumni that have proven to be thought leaders on the subject.  Also, HBCUs (like Frats and Soros) need to collaborate on pulling resources to for investments in real estate, gold, small businesses, etc.  No disrespect but “fish fry” plates will not get it done. If the community could see HBCUs investing, building, and teaching on finances, there will be a 100fold return. 

And last but not least, how can teachers, parents, mentors, etc. go about keeping children engaged in financial learning as they grow up? The teaching must begin early and never stop. Kids will be interested in whatever the adult figure in their life is interested in.  If the adult is playing video games daily, the kid will play daily; if the adult is stuffing their face binge watching their favorite Netflix show the kid will follow suit. If the adult is on social media daily, smoking, drinking, cursing, etc….the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Every day is a teachable moment for kids so find little things each day to tie to finances.  Train up the child the way they should go.

Ralph Newsome is Managing Director of Acquisition– a proud graduate of Norfolk State University with a BS in Accounting. He has been buying assets and returning profits to investors for about a decade. He was invited to attend Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Investors Conference in 2016. What Ralph likes to do the most is help educate others in the complicated world of wealth building. Whether its advising portfolio management, educating on the use of leverage, or distress asset purchasing, Ultimately, he enjoys helping others. Visit his firm at New Level Realty Group.

HBCU Money’s 2019 Top 10 HBCU Endowments

The adjective that best describes 2019 HBCU endowments – uninspiring. HBCU flagship endowments barely moved over the past calendar year. Of all reporting endowments, only The University of the Virgin Islands saw double digit gains in their endowment market value. Since breaking into the top 10 HBCU endowments in 2014, UVI has been on a meteoric rise almost doubling their endowment over the past six years and has become something of a canary in a coal mine.

There is plenty of blame to go around, but the jest of the matter is HBCUs and HBCU alumni associations continue to not do a good enough job of hammering financial and philanthropic literacy among their constituents. This leads to either a lack of investing or no investing at all among HBCU alumni and HBCU alumni associations and therefore a paltry engagement both from an alumni giving rate and alumni giving amounts. Simply put, there are still far too many HBCU alumni and students who do not know what an endowment is or its purpose and it is reflected in the endowments of our institutions.

If there is any solace to be taken from this year’s numbers, it is that HBCU endowments are largely in line with the overall sentiment of America’s college and university endowments. Unfortunately, the median HBCU endowment is less than 44 percent of the overall NACUBO median reporting endowment and HBCU endowments are just barely 18 percent of the NACUBO average reporting endowment.


  • HBCU Endowment Total – $2.1 billion
  • Number of PWIs Above $2 billion – 54
  • Number of PWIs Above $1 billion – 108
  • HBCU Median – $64.8 million (4.07%)
  • NACUBO Median – $149 million (5.02%)
  • HBCU Average – $148 million (4.25%)
  • NACUBO Average – $816.4 million (4.24%)

All values are in millions ($000)

1. Howard University – $692,832 (0.62%)

2. Spelman College – $390,462 (0.27%)

3.  Hampton University – $282,543 (-0.98%)

4.  Meharry Medical College – $159,146 (-0.48%)

5.  Florida A&M University – $98,213 (1.93%)

6.  University of the Virgin Islands – $71,684 (15.83%)

7. North Carolina A&T State University  – $68,459 (7.58%)

8.  Tennessee State University – $61,110 (4.11%)

9. Virginia State University – $57,383 (5.33%)

10.  Winston-Salem State University – $49,755 (7.66%)


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.

Source: NACUBO

Donate To Every School In The SWAC/MEAC Challenge

How many HBCUs have you donated money too? Below are the jump pages for every SWAC/MEAC school and/or foundation’s giving page. We challenge HBCU alumni to give to their own and as many HBCUs as possible.

There are 21 HBCUs between the SWAC/MEAC. That means there are 21 opportunities to give that stretch from Texas to Maryland and impact the institutional opportunities of tens of thousands of African American students, their families, and our communities. How many will you impact?

Alabama A&M University Give now

Alabama A&M University Foundation


Alabama State University give now

Alabama state university foundation


alcorn state university give now

alcorn state university foundation


University of Arkansas Pine Bluff give now


Bethune Cookman University Give Now

Mary McLeod Bethune Foundation


coppin state university give now

CSU Development Foundation


Delaware State University give now

Delaware state university foundation


florida a&m university give now

Florida A&M University Foundation


Grambling State University Give Now

Grambling University Foundation


Howard University Give Now


Jackson State University Give Now

Jackson State Development Foundation


University of Maryland Eastern Shore Give Now


Mississippi Valley State University Give Now

Mississippi Valley State University Foundation


Morgan State University Give Now

Morgan State University Foundation


Norfolk State University Give Now

NSU Foundation


North Carolina A&T State University Give Now

North Carolina A&T Real Estate Foundation


North Carolina Central University Give Now

NCCU Foundation


Prairie View A&M University Give Now

Prairie View A&M Foundation


South Carolina State University Give now

South Carolina State University Foundation


Southern University and A&M College Give Now

Southern University System Foundation


Texas Southern University Give Now