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Why Philanthropic Funding Strongly Favors White Colleges Over HBCUs

Changes are needed on both sides of the table to address the chronic underfunding facing historically black colleges and universities, some experts say following a report showing the wide funding disparity among historically black colleges and universities and their Ivy League counterparts.

While the biggest challenge remains redirecting philanthropic funds to HBCUs, they say, HBCU leaders must also improve promotion of their product through tools such as social media and podcasts — even if financial challenges make these more difficult tasks.

“HBCUs are slow to change,” said Crystal deGregory, who researches HBCUs as an associate professor of history at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida. “A lot of the stories they did, even knowingly, could be seen as old-fashioned and definitely falling behind the dynamism of historically white institutions.”

The University of the District of Columbia in Washington, DC is among the nation's historically black colleges and universities.  These institutions face funding challenges, especially compared to their Ivy League counterparts.

The recently published study, conducted by the philanthropic research group Candid in partnership with ABFE, a non-profit organization that encourages investment in black communities, found that funding for HBCUs from major US foundations has dropped 30% between 2002 and 2019, with the average Ivy League institution hosting 178 times. more foundation funding than the average HBCU.

USA Today

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