Lilly Endowment Offers $100 Million to Boost Endowments of Private HBCUs

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) has announced that is has received $100 million from the Lilly Endowment in Indianapolis that will be used to bolster the endowment for the 37 historically Black colleges and universities that form UNCF’s membership, with the goal of boosting the schools’ long-term financial stability. The donation is the single largest unrestricted gift to the UNCF since its founding 80 years ago.

The chairman and CEO of the Lilly Endowment said the gift continues the organization’s history of supporting UNCF’s work. “The UNCF programs we have helped fund in the past have been successful, and we are confident that the efforts to be supported by this bold campaign will have a great impact on UNCF’s member institutions and their students’ lives,” N. Clay Robbins said in a statement.

After careful consideration on how to utilize Lilly Endowment’s unrestricted grant, UNCF has decided to deploy it to support the organization’s $1 billion capital campaign’s objective of building a pooled endowment fund that will increase the endowments at UNCF’s 37 member institutions by $10 million each. This infusion of $100 million will immediately increase each UNCF member’s endowment by $2.7 million, at least doubling the endowments of several institutions.

“This grant from Lilly Endowment is far-reaching and long-lasting. It will change the financial trajectory of many HBCUs for many years to come. We are incredibly grateful for Lilly Endowment’s continued support of UNCF and higher education,” said Marc Barnes, senior vice president at the UNCF. “Our commitment is to generate philanthropic funding to not just increase scholarships but also strengthen HBCUs, raise graduation rates, ensure greater economic mobility, and grow endowments at all our 37 member HBCUs.”

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