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Fearless Girl, Art, & Business: A Conversation With HBCU Professors & Artists Tracey Moore & Josie Pickens


HBCU Money was able to catch up with two rising stars in the national academic and cultural landscape who together represent the Lone Star State’s two public HBCUs. Ms. Josie Pickens (left), English professor at Texas Southern University and writer along with Ms. Tracey Moore (right), Digital Media Arts professor at Prairie View A&M University and artist. Both professors are also alumna of their respective institutions and highlight what happens when intellectual capital is cultivated, grown, and returns to strengthen our institutions. They without a doubt epitomize what shines bright in the future of HBCU institutions. We sat down with them to get their thoughts on the intersection of humanities and business from their own respective perches as well as some of today’s most current events where humanities and business are colliding.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the Fearless Girl statue in New York City. The artist of the Charging Bull says it impacts his original guerilla art that has become something of a landmark and tourist attraction in the city. Some women’s rights activist say it serves to inspire young girls into economics and finance. Others, feel torn that the piece was paid for by State Street Bank to promote a product of theirs that invest in companies where there is a prominent woman presence either on the board or in management. What is your take on the matter that contains so many layers and complexity?

Ms. Moore: My first exposure to this particular sculpture was when a friend posted an article regarding the Charging Bull artist, Arturo Di Modica, and his displeasure with Fearless Girl changing the context of his work. Although I sympathize with his point of view in that the original context of the piece is lost with the presence of Fearless Girl but isn’t that what art is supposed to do? Change how we perceive the world around us, how we think, and how we respond. On the flipside of the coin, I do not understand the fascination with the sculpture. Oddly enough, the image that replays in my head is Elizabeth Warren taking a selfie with the piece. I found it ironic that she fights for women’s rights, equality, and all the other points on the feminist agenda but she applauds a commissioned piece (from an investment fund) that is supposed to, indirectly, applaud the accomplishments of women working on executive boards and in management. It is a girl that supposed to represent the hard fought battles women have endured and won seeking their rightful place in Corporate America.

Personally Fearless Girl does not represent me, or most women that I know, spiritually, culturally, historically, or relationally. Spiritually, I know who I am and I know who’s I am. There is nothing about this bronze image that would inspire me to do anything. Idolizing this image will yield no returns for me or for the young ladies I mentor everyday. How can young girls connect with something that cannot love you, protect you, or share with you? Overall, my aspirations as a young girl were to be an adult, a woman, not to remain a girl.

Culturally, growing up as a young black girl in a traditional southern home, respect was the word of the day, everyday. You were taught to respect your elders in all things and know your place/role as a child. Having the posture of Fearless Girl was definitely a no-no. It was a sign that you have smelled yourself and taken a position of defiance against the authority of any adult. That was something non-black children did. Certainly approaching an adult with hands on your hips was grounds for a stern look or, in some cases, a smack across some extremity. You had to know when it was appropriate to take that stance (ideally with your peers) and when not to.

Being educated as a graphic designer, you are taught the artful skill of manipulating words and image to sell a product, idea, lifestyle, etc. Let’s call a spade a spade. Ultimately, Fearless Girl is a commercialized image, a reflection of how society views women as defiant little girls screaming for attention and wanting others to know their value. If you change ‘girl’ to ‘gal’, then you have America’s historical view of black women. I have heard white men and women refer to black woman as ‘gals’ many times as a child. They have been ‘gals’ who need to be controlled, disciplined, and handled. We fight for dignity only to be immortalized in the form of a girl.

No piece of bronze has ever inspired anyone to do anything. Relationships do that. If you want to inspire young girls to pursue careers in economics and finance, then you have to mentor them. Develop programs that will introduce economics, take young girls under your wing and show them the dynamics of Wall Street, stocks, trading, numbers, etc. Fearless Girl cannot teach a young lady to balance a checkbook, buy stocks, or anything else. You have to invest the time in young girls lives and guide them their journey to adulthood. No sculpture can do that. Last time I checked, most girls aspire to become like the women who are in their lives.

Ms. Pickens: As a Black woman raising a Black daughter, the fearless girl means very little to me as a model or ideal.  Corporate feminism, which is absolutely what the statue represents, caters specifically to White women and never makes space for women of color— and especially not Black women.  When tech executive Sheryl Sandberg started preaching her lead-in philosophy, many Black women were unmoved by her rhetoric because her experience was so different from ours.  When Black women “lean-in” in corporate settings, we are often viewed as egotistical know-it-alls with bad attitudes.  Our ambition and directness are seen as negative attributes as opposed to positive ones—and we rarely are able to climb that corporate ladder of success.  Much in the same way, when Black girls assert themselves in school settings they are often seen as aggressors and bullies.  Black girls, in fact, are five times more likely to be suspended than White girls, according to recent reports.

What has been fascinating, more fascinating to me than the faux message the statue was meant to deliver, is the way so many men are making lude, exploitive and sexual overtures towards the statue.  Many grown men have been caught on tape groping and humping the statue, or worse.  That speaks more to me about the safety of women in places like New York’s Financial District- or really in the U.S. and the world.  Misogyny that leads to rape culture and sexual violence are what we really need to be addressing, instead of having empty conversations about White women gaining access to the same power that White men have in perpetuating American consumerism and capitalism that ultimately hurts poor people overall, and Black folks specifically.

Liberal arts add a lot of value for entrepreneurs in terms of creativity to problem solving. How do you see your particular subject adding value to students who may see themselves as future entrepreneurs/businessmen and women, but may not understand in the moment how your class and subject can help them?

Ms. Moore:  Presently, I am teaching a course entitled Creative Thinking. Students are exposed to the design thinking process, which is a creative methodology for developing innovative solutions. The process can be and is being applied to solve problems across disciplines. This course specifically aims to assist Digital Media Arts students at PVAMU in developing their own individual creative process. The methodology involves heavy research and ideation. I try to instill in my students that you have to engage your target audience to understand how to speak to them. During their sketching phase, I constantly remind them that we are not looking for the most beautiful design but we are looking for the most appropriate. We take this same principle and look at successful companies and organizations that do an excellent job of speaking to their audience. I often refer to the story of how Steve Jobs did not like the infamous silhouette iPod campaign but that is what catapulted the iPod to the top of the mp3 player market.

There are several students in my classes that are developing small businesses and I challenge them to think about the product or service that they wish to sell or provide. How is it different from what is already out there? Do you have a particular niche that will drive business to your door? Are you duplicating things that already exist? Is your duplication innovative in any way? How do you get others to see the value in your product or service? This is where creative thinking comes into play. By going through the process and posing these questions during the research and ideation phases, students hopefully will develop viable businesses and opportunities. In addition, our Creative Thinking process is used in every course in our program. We have recently expanded this process adding, “When you understand your why, then the what will change.” That philosophy, which was inspired by Christian Comedian Michael, Jr. and essentially sums up our entire creative thinking process, has helped to change how students think about every aspect in life.

Ms. Pickens: I teach the mechanics of writing, and especially the art of rhetoric and composition. I chose to teach in this area because I feel that it is the area that Black students at my HBCU struggle with most, and the area that – once mastered- will benefit them most as they matriculate through college and move forward into their careers. I begin each semester asking students what their majors are, and I explain to each of them how important being able to communicate effectively in writing is to their major field of study and the work they hope to do when they graduate. For instance, working in corporate America or even as an entrepreneur means submitting tons of well written reports and proposals, in addition to various letters and emails to clients, peers and higher-ups.  A person can possess a brilliant business mind, but if he or she cannot effectively communicate his ideas and plans he will not be successful.

We are proponents of students learning to become or think entrepreneurial no matter their field. What do you both see as overlooked opportunities by students to become entrepreneurs in your respective fields? How do you believe HBCUs can encourage such engagement?

Ms. Moore: Honestly, the students at PVAMU possess a great entrepreneurial spirit. This younger generation has the creative vision and desire, but what they lack is probably discipline and patience. In terms of discipline, many do not try to learn the business. They prefer to, as the elders say, learn the hard way. They want mentors but they often do not heed the advice of said mentors. Many often will scoff at the notion of working for someone in a related field to learn how to manage people, invoices, balance sheets, etc. and then establish their own companies. Why invent the wheel when there are successful models in existence. I have noticed that many want the fame and glory right now. They see the seemingly overnight success and think that can happen for them. What they do not see are the numerous failures that occurred for the success to happen. In my own experience, I have come across some lackadaisical attitudes about trust, loyalty, commitment, and customer service. I once worked with a student to develop a series of designs for custom HBCU t-shirts and I broke ties with her once she allowed someone else to appropriate my design and was quite flippant in her attitude regarding the situation.

PVAMU’s College of Business has a Small Business Development Center on campus that provides workshops and assistance to entrepreneurs. The overlooked opportunity is that most students do not know about the SBDC. Perhaps, the SBDC should embed itself more into the student body of PVAMU. I think other HBCUs could do the same. Open a center that helps young entrepreneurs realize their dreams. But you have to go to where the students are to sell them the benefits of going to these workshops and, in turn, students have to understand the importance of the center in their journey. Through a grant opportunity, I have been working with students and a business consultant to open the DesignView Media Center, which will provide graphic design services to university departments and student organizations and facilitate professional development workshops for students in the Digital Media Arts program at PVAMU.  Eventually, we would like to establish the center as a service department so that students can work with local businesses and organizations outside of the university. The students who were hired for this opportunity worked with the consultant to write the business plan for the center. The weekly meetings and planning sessions allowed them to understand the proper way to develop their own businesses.

In addition, HBCUs have to help students understand and know their strengths and talents. I often remind my students of principles of entrepreneurship from two books, Carter G. Woodson’s The Mis-education of the Negro and Booker T. Washington’s My Larger Education. What I gleaned from them is that businesses should be built on your passion and skills and perhaps a recognized need. Then you build from there. Become better at what you already know how to do or find a need to address. The media makes us turn our noses at jobs that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers had to work but we fail to see how those can have value. An acquaintance’s son developed a maid service during his freshmen year of college. He saw a need to offer a streamlined, same-day cleaning service that can be booked online. The business is doing quite well. The business is most likely financing his education or he is saving to expand the business. I have interacted with students who want to dabble in arenas, like fashion design, that are made popular by celebrities like, but they have neither designed anything nor sewn a stitch of clothing and do not want to learn how to do those things. It is not a bad idea, but how far can they go when many of their peers are doing the same thing?

HBCUs need to essentially go back to our intellectual roots. We need to apply many of the principles of economic independence that Washington and Woodson both promoted.

Ms. Pickens: There are countless ways one can be an entrepreneur in the field of writing and teaching, actually.  In addition to teaching at an HBCU, I also have the option of offering tutorial services—especially with respect to the writing sections of tests like the SAT and GRE.  Also, working as a consultant or corporate trainer is an option for educators who seek to move outside of the classroom and work for themselves.  Being a writing coach is a lucrative field, too.  All of these entrepreneurial options are accessible in addition to various forms of journalism and essay writing for individual publications.  Freelancing is a great way to earn extra income, or make a living all together.

Programs in the humanities have to do a better job of highlighting careers outside of the standard careers we’ve been learning about for so many years.  Although the humanities, especially language and visual arts, should be centered on imagination and innovation, many programs do very little to reach past tradition when educating students on potential careers.  It is unfortunate for these programs that they are being left behind, as millennials are very interested in being in full control of their lives and being their own bosses.  For this reason, many traditional humanities programs do not appeal to them and have a difficult time enrolling students into their programs.

Ms. Pickens, being an English professor is something that has always been vital in business. The ability to convey a message and communicate effectively often starts with a strong foundation in language. How do you believe students go about preparing themselves to be proficient in being able to effectively communicate in the language of business?

Ms. Pickens: My students practice resume and cover letter writing in the courses I teach.  Also, I always outline professional communication with my students.  In an age when we are constantly communicating with words—now sometimes more than we communicate through speaking or face to face—written communication has become very lax.  Many students, I find, have forgotten or never learned how to communicate with different audiences.  They will send an email to their professor using the same tone and language that they use when communicating with friends and family.  Additionally, a recent article in Forbes noted that recent college graduates lack effective problem solving skills and do not pay enough attention to detail (a lack of writing proficiency was at the top of the list).  All of these skills can be honed through practicing the basics and mechanics of writing, as well as focusing on aalyzing and writing rhetoric.  We solve problems by recognizing them, communicating the issues at hand, and finding solutions—that’s what rhetoric analysis is, essentially.

Ms. Moore, you have expressed a desire to train the next wave of designers who will be a force in the industry, as well as one-day return and teach. Bringing back real world experience to the classroom to mix with theoretical is vital into today’s learning experience and yet so few HBCU alumni are returning often creating a shortage of both experience and cultural relevancy in far too many HBCU classrooms. What do you attribute the shrinkage in the pipeline too? And what do you believe can be done to change it?

Ms. Moore: It essentially boils down to money and resources. In the same manner that the best black athletes were wooed away from attending HBCUs by the larger PWIs, our black intellectuals are being targeted in the name diversity and inclusion, which in my opinion is a new spin on Affirmative Action. I honestly do not take issue with this, because I understand the need for PWIs to help broaden perspectives on campus and PWIs tend to pay more but the question I have is, “Who will be better impacted by your presence?” That is a tough question to answer for many. People tend to look at their bottom lines. Where can I make the most money? Where can I go that will have more resources? What institution will give me the most support and faculty development? Some get frustrated with the struggles that accompany teaching at an HBCU. I do not want to generalize the experiences of my fellow professors but I have run across several who in many ways expressed those sentiments and have left HBCUs for those very reasons.

I am from the School of Make a Way out of No Way. I have learned to make do with a whole lot of nothing and foster relationships with people who can point me in directions where I can find resources. I received my B.A. in the advertising art program (now defunct) at PVAMU, which was underfunded and understaffed. The one professor who was supposed to be the advertising specialist only worked in an ad agency for 6 months during the 70s. Fast-forward 20 years and the professor was still teaching technology of the 70s. My fellow classmates and I came to realize that we were not learning the skills needed to be gainfully employed when we started attending advertising competitions. It was a real eye-opener. Most of what we learned we taught each other. Those who were able to get internships came back and facilitated late night sessions so that we all could learn practical knowledge. I made it my personal mission to get into the advertising industry, attend graduate school and come back to PVAMU to teach. I did not want another student to leave PVAMU unprepared to work in the design industry. It has been a long journey to get where I am, I have had help from various faculty and administrators across PVAMU and whenever the opportunity arises, I tell my students the stories of what my classmates and I had to endure to graduate. I want them to know that they are benefiting from our hard work and perseverance and they have an obligation to help someone else. I choose not to talk about the salary, but rather the satisfaction I have from the work I do. We have to impress upon our HBCU students that their skills are needed at our campuses. In the same token, our administrations have to be open to what these young, vibrant, new professors can bring to our universities.

What do you believe business can and should be learning from the liberal arts that is missing in today’s business culture?

Ms. Moore: I am not wholly immersed in the business culture so I am not sure if I can answer that. Business is more than just cubicles, bottom lines, and boardrooms. It is about people and relationships. Treat people as people and not numbers. That is the heart of liberal arts. Seeing people as people.

Ms. Pickens: The liberal arts or the humanities function in exactly that capacity, they humanize us.  Liberal Arts connect businesses to the imagination and to creativity, which every business needs in order to advance.

Ms. Tracey L. Moore is an Assistant Professor and the Coordinator for the Digital Media Arts Program at Prairie View A&M University. She earned her BA in Advertising Art at Prairie View A&M University and an MFA in Studio Art with a concentration in Graphic Communications from the University of Houston. When she is not in the classroom, Ms. Moore does some freelance graphic design. Her most notable work has been the redesigning of the logos for the Texas Institute for the Preservation of History and Culture (TIPHC or The Culture Center), The Charles Gilpin Players, and the PVAMU iREAD program. In addition to design, Ms. Moore creates artwork using photography, stitched fabric and found objects. Being an amateur historian, Moore often uses historical events, world or personal, as an underlying theme in her work. She has exhibited her work in numerous galleries and cultural centers throughout the United States.

Ms. Josie Pickens is a professor, cultural critic and griot whose writing focuses on race and gender, and the varying intersections of the two.  Her ultimate goal is to give voice to those often unseen and unheard through her gift of storytelling.  Pickens regularly provides timely social commentary for Ebony Magazine and has been cited on The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian news sites. Follow her on twitter at @jonubian.”

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2017 National Real Estate Preview: HBCU Alumni Real Estate Agents Look Ahead To The New Year


An HBCU alumna and ally who are now prominent real estate agents sit down and talk with us about what to potentially expect for the year ahead in the real estate market covering coast to coast.

Tiffany Curry (top left) – A Texas Southern University alumna who now works for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Anderson Properties in Houston, TX.

Kimberly C. Lehman (top right) – An HBCU ally who is married to a Hampton graduate and now owns and runs KC Lehman Realty as a division of John Aaroe Group in Los Angeles, CA.

What do you believe the rate hike in December by the Federal Reserve may do to the coming year of real estate?

TC: I believe the rate spike will motivate buyers that have been on the fence. I think people will fear the rates may continue to rise and that we will see an increase in buyers purchasing homes. Rents are at record highs. It is still less expensive to own vs. lease.

KC: If the interest rates rise in the way we expect, it will impact how much buyers currently in the market can afford. As such, home values should level out, but many buyers will continue to be priced out.

Tell us something that makes you optimistic and pessimistic about the 2017 real estate market?

TC: I’m excited that the 2017 market has already shown positive signs of movement. I currently have clients who are ready to sell and purchase new homes in the first quarter of 2017. I expect my business to double in the 2017 year which is remarkable in the current marketplace. Consumers are seeing value in homeownership and are trading their homes for more space or better locations.

KC:  Optimistic: In Southern California, there is no shortage of buyers, and therefore opportunities for business continues to grow. If values level out, that might balance out the supply and demand which also equals more opportunities for business.

Pessimistic: Uncertainty of our new administration has sellers that ordinarily would sell right now holding tight. Also current home values will cause some buyers who are unwilling to compromise on property location and/or condition to drop out of the game.

Where do you see the most opportunity for real estate investors in your market for 2017?

TC:  In Houston, we have a diverse and growing economy. I see development as an excellent place for investors. Land purchases should be key for investors as the Houston population will nearly double by 2040. Land will become scarce and is a great opportunity for someone that can buy and hold.

KC: Southeast Los Angeles if they are smart. They missed the boat on Inglewood.

Companies like Redfin, Zillow, and others are disrupting the traditional real estate market. How are you seeing their presence influence the real estate market?

TC: Houston is a rare marketplace where we have our own local consumer public facing website, har.com. HAR.com is the only site in the US where Zillow, Realtor.com and others do not hold prominent market share. This has enabled brokers and agents in the market to maintain their presence without the need for an outside third party. Redfin however has come into the marketplace as they offer a discount service. Consumers who want to save on commissions are using their services however it is in line with the traditional discount brokerages that would have attracted this type of consumer. Although they are capturing consumers they still are a very small impact in our local market as most consumers still want the guidance and expertise of a REALTOR that has time to handle their needs rather than one that is focused on transactions.

KC: Buyers and sellers are relying on these sites to educate them about the real estate process and home values. As it relates to the latter, none of these sites are truly accurate. Redfin in particular has gotten their own market share of listings and buyers through their site and their agents are in direct competition with those of us at traditional brokerages. They aren’t always knowledgeable of the areas they are tied to via the site. I’ve heard horror stories!

On the upside, Zillow reviews are liquid gold to agents in the field.

Since reaching its all-time high of 49.1 percent in 2004, African American homeownership has now fallen to an all-time low of 41.1 percent as of third quarter 2016, an almost 20 percent decline. What do you believe can be done in the foreseeable future to reengage the African American consumer?

TC: I believe the African American consumer must be reeducated on the value of homeownership. Homeownership for most Americans is their primary source of wealth and assets. I believe our communities, churches and social groups must put more emphasis on the value of owning the land beneath your feet. As one of the largest groups in consumer spending we must do a better job of prioritizing what we spend our monies on. Material items that depreciate are not the key to wealth. Laying the foundation to a solid financial future for our children and their children’s children are what we must focus on. Building and maintaining our communities by owning what is in them is key.

KC: African Americans need to pool resources in order to compete with the current buyers in the market. Often, our community looks to FHA, NACA, CALHFA and other government programs to help us – but unless we are shopping in low income areas, we can’t compete with the cash offers elsewhere. If we work together and create real estate investment groups we can began to establish potential generational wealth for our heirs.

Thank you for participating ladies and we look forward to your 2018 forecast! To reach these agents please click their names to be directed to their websites.

Tiffany Curry – Houston, TX

KC Lehman  – Los Angeles, CA

 

HBCU Money’s 2016 Top 10 HBCU Endowments


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2016 was a rough year for the world, it was even afforded a scary movie trailer, and top ten HBCU endowments were not spared the carnage. Eight out of the top ten HBCU endowments saw negative changes in their market value. The only two to be spared the rod were Meharry Medical College and rising supernova, University of Virgin Islands, who not only led all HBCUs in market value percentage increase, but was second among all American and Canadian institutions reporting in that category. Howard University continues to hold the number one spot and sheer inertia could carry it onto becoming the first billion dollar HBCU endowment. However, after being the star of the top ten last year, Howard finds itself the dog of the show this year with the worst market value percentage performance.

Since breaking into the top ten a few years ago, University of Virgin Islands continues its ascension up the ranks. It is clear they have the special sauce in the islands and if the winds continue in their favor, then the school in Nassau could give HBCUs its sixth endowment over $100 million in short order. Another notable endowment, Texas College with an endowment of only $3.2 million, did see the second highest market change percentage of HBCUs at 6.8 percent.

After a notable absence last year, Florida A&M University, has returned to the list and takes its place as HBCU nation’s fifth endowment over $100 million. This in comparison to 93 of the 799 HWCUs reporting with endowments over the $1 billion mark. Reminding us there is a long way to go before institutional economic equality is achieved.

As always, if you do not see your HBCU in the top 10 – DONATE!**

Endowment in millions $000 (Change in Market Value*)

1. Howard University – $685 775  (-8.5%)

2. Spelman College – $346 789 (-4.5%)

3.  Hampton University – $253 814 (-3.6%)

4.  Meharry Medical College – $142 703 (2.6%)

5. Florida A&M University – $113 117 (N/A)

6.  University of the Virgin Islands – $54 968 (60.4%)

7.  Tennessee State University – $50 246 (-2.3%)

8.  Texas Southern University – $48 163 (-1.1%)

9.  North Carolina A&T State University  – $48 074 (-0.1%)

10. . Virginia State University – $45 812 (-3.4%)

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.

endowment-works-1

*Note: 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 FY2015 to FY2016 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.

** Notable exclusions to the list that HBCU Money believes would otherwise make the top ten are Morehouse College, Tuskegee University, and Dillard University. These HBCUs have never reported their endowment to NACUBO in the time HBCU Money has been recording its annual top ten endowments.

Additional Notes:
NACUBO Average Endowment – $640 737 (-2.9%)
NACUBO Median Endowment – $120 330 (-1.3%)
Top 10 HWCU Endowments combined – $182.5 billion
Source: National Association of College & University Business Officers

HBCU Money’s 2015 Top 10 HBCU Endowments


 

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The keyword for  2015’s HBCU endowments – concerning. Two bellwether HBCU endowments, Spelman College and Hampton University, saw negative declines in their endowment’s market value. Outside of Howard University storming ahead at 11.7 percent, no other HBCU endowment saw double digit gains with North Carolina A&T State University missing the mark by 10 basis points. This is a far cry from 2014’s list when 9 out of 10 reported double digit gains. If there is any solace in the numbers and there is not much, it is that the top ten endowments of our HWCU counterparts had no endowments return double digit gains and also saw 2 out of their 10 with declines in market value.

Although there are some notable absences** from our top ten list, it certainly would not change the reality that still only three HBCUs have endowments above the $200 million mark and none have reached the $1 billion plateau, although Howard University, despite its noted financial issues seems to be headed there unabated and without much competition from Spelman College or Hampton University, the only real challengers. John Wilson, president at Morehouse College, in an interview with Harvard Magazine in 2013 noted, “is the need to build endowments; less than $200 million makes you, by definition, unhealthy.” This still remains the case and as a baseline means that 97 percent of all HBCUs are financially unhealthy. Even more concerning is that there seems to be no real plan in place to address this. A canary in the coal mine though is that donations of $1 million or more to HBCUs jumped from one in 2013 to nine in 2014, but donations of the eight and nine figure variety, also known as transformative donations, are still absent at HBCUs.

As always if you do not see your HBCU in the top 10 – DONATE!**

Endowment in millions $000 (Change in Market Value*)

1. Howard University – $659 639 (11.7%)

2. Spelman College – $362 986 (-1.1%)

3. Hampton University – $263 237 (-8.7%)

4. Meharry Medical College – $139 054 (1.5%)

5. Tennessee State University – $51 416 (1.8%)

6. Texas Southern University – $48 684 (4.5%)

7. Virginia State University – $47 432 (4.9%)

8. North Carolina A&T State University – $48 100 (9.9%)

9. Winston-Salem State University – $37 219 (8.5%)

10. University of the Virgin Islands – $34 274 (-9.0%)

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.

endowment-works-1

*Note: 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 FY2013 to FY2014 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.

** Notable exclusions to the list that HBCU Money believes would otherwise make the top ten are Morehouse College, Tuskegee University, Dillard University, and Florida A&M University. Morehouse College, Tuskegee University, and Dillard University have never reported their endowment to NACUBO in the time HBCU Money has been recording its annual top ten endowments. Florida A&M University who was number five last year did not appear in this year’s list from NACUBO.

Additional Notes:
NACUBO Average Endowment – $648 074 (1.7%)
NACUBO Median Endowment – $115 828 (-0.9%)
Top 10 HWCU Endowments combined – $185.4 billion
Source: National Association of College & University Business Officers

HBCU Money’s 2014 Top 10 HBCU Endowments


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The keyword for  2014’s HBCU endowments – disappointing. In the past twelve months, HBCU’s top ten endowments added $200 million to its coffers. So why is this disappointing? The S&P 500 over the past year had returns of 13.4 percent. The benchmark by which we measure endowment return success. Given many of the tax and capital advantages that college and university endowments have it takes quite a bit of effort to underperform the market. This year only six out of ten HBCU endowments outperformed the market, while HWCU counterparts clocked in at nine out of ten. This has allowed the institutional wealth gap between top 10 HWCU/HBCU endowments to balloon from 103:1 to 106:1 the past twelve months. 

This year was fairly standard with no real changes except one among the top ten, but what a change it was. The University of the Virgin Islands unseats Winston-Salem State University in the ten spot from last year after an unprecedented change in market value of 48.5 percent. A performance that not only led all HBCUs, but was fifth among the 851 American and Canadian endowments reporting. However, there is still real concern about the lack of HBCUs with at least $100 million endowments. Notable absences are Morehouse and Tuskegee who do not report. Even including these two, it would mean only approximately 7 percent of HBCUs are above this mark. This is concerning because even schools with only a $100 million endowment that achieved a market return of 13 percent leaves the school roughly $6.5 million to potentially to work with. Showing that HBCUs are still highly dependent and vulnerable to tuition revenue. A matter we saw continuously pop up after the Parent Plus Loan debacle that sent many HBCUers home. HBCU endowments should have been there to lessen the blow, but again given 93 percent of HBCUs are at $50 million or less it shows the vulnerability most are facing. The MEAC continues its dominance of the top ten HBCU endowments with four institutions present.

As always if you do not see your HBCU in the top 10 – DONATE!

Endowment in millions $000 (Change in Market Value*)

1. Howard University – $586 104 (14.0%)

2. Spelman College – $367 037 (12.2%)

3. Hampton University – $288 370 (13.5%)

4. Meharry Medical College – $136 975 (9.6%)

5. Florida A&M University – $127 186 (10.3%)

6. Tennessee State University – $50 492 (17.5%)

7. Texas Southern University – $46 577 (10.4%)

8. Virginia State University – $45 145 (18.6%)

9. North Carolina A&T State University – $43 785 (17.3%)

10. University of the Virgin Islands – $38 184 (48.5%)

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.

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*Note: 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 FY2013 to FY2014 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.

Additional Notes:
NACUBO Average Endowment – $616 188 (15.0%)
NACUBO Median Endowment – $112 967 (16.3%)
Top 10 HWCU Endowments combined – $180.3 billion
Top 10 HBCU Endowments combined – $1.7 billion
Source: National Association of College & University Business Officers