Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) play a critical role in unlocking upward mobility for their students, driving economic growth by cultivating talent and entrepreneurship, and supporting the overall development of the neighborhoods where they are located by leveraging their physical, social, and financial assets. But despite large donations pledged in response to the racial awakenings of 2020, HBCUs are still chronically underfunded due to state underinvestment, lower alumni contributions (related to lower Black incomes and wealth), and lower endowments.
A recent Brookings report, “A call to action for HBCU investment,” draws from a series of roundtable conversations with leaders of HBCUs, banks, CDFIs, and philanthropy—hosted by the Reinvestment Fund, a national nonprofit, mission-driven financial institution—highlights how financial services can support these postsecondary institutions.
On Thursday, September 22, Brookings Metro hosted an event examining the report’s findings, which lay out a roadmap for private, philanthropic, and government institutions to provide capital to HBCUs and maximize community development impact. A panel of leaders discussed ways that public and private investment will ensure that every HBCU can sustain and transform the neighborhoods and cities that host them and the students they serve, with routine access to investment capital from a range of sources to enable long-term planning for institutional development and expansion.