Research & Reports

Philanthropy and HBCUs: Foundation funding to historically Black colleges and universities

Focus Areas
Education and HBCU's

Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have played a central—if underappreciated—role in the United States. The earliest HBCUs were founded before the legal enslavement of Black people ended. Since then, they have been critical in educating Black people, developing Black leaders, and addressing inequality. Although researchers have studied the government’s role in financing HBCUs, there has been little research on private philanthropic support. This report seeks to fill that gap by examining U.S. foundation funding to HBCUs and exploring the relationship between foundations and HBCUs. Our qualitative research consisted of interviews with seven HBCU staff and seven funders, as well as a focus group with four HBCU students to understand their experiences and perspectives. Our quantitative analysis leveraged Candid’s comprehensive grants data to identify funding patterns and gaps to 103 HBCUs.