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Financially giving back to our HBCUs

by William T. Robinson, Jr
William T. Robinson, Jr.

Many Blacks are quick to attest to their dedication and pride in our HBCUs, which are uplifting our race and catapulting Blacks to middle- and upper-class status. They are highlighting our greatness as a people. But unfortunately, too many of these same people fall short in financially supporting HCBUs.

Financial contributions sustain colleges and universities, not lip service, such as that given by too many HBCU alumni. These are the same people who marvel at the financial support given by graduates of PWIs (Predominately White Institutions), but are quick to talk about the financial shortcomings of their very own HBCU, knowing they are not personally contributing financially.

It is at HBCUs where many Blacks are indoctrinated to their history. Through this exposure and experience, they find a love for their race and personal fulfillment that many would not have found at a PWI (Predominately White Institution). That is why so many graduates of HBCUs are committed to going back to their communities and giving back to further uplift their communities, something that doesn’t seem to be a priority from many Blacks attending PWIs

With so many Blacks professing their love and pride in their HBCUs, why is it that so many don’t give back financially as alumni to support their beloved institutions. The answers are diverse and many times personal. Many alumni are quick to blame their HBCU’s Offices of Alumni Affairs, claiming they need to do a better job in soliciting the support of alumni. How many times have you heard an alumnus state that they haven’t been contacted by the university since their graduation or that contact was limited?

Many HBCU alumni claimed they were not informed about their responsibility and obligation as an alumnus to give back. They claim the university didn’t do a better job in forwarding contact information. But as the saying goes, excuses are made to please oneself. We all know attendees or graduates of HBCUs could do a better job of giving back if they chose, even if it means personally contacting the university to pay dues or make a contribution.

You would think graduates of HBCUs would automatically feel they have a responsibility and obligation to give back to their alma mater. It should be incumbent on all alumni to give back. In fact, it should be a priority if they are financially able.

With the high caliber of graduates of HBCUs making a significant contribution to the working economy in high professional jobs, there should be no shortage of HBCU graduates giving back to increase the financial status of HBCUs in helping them grow. Let’s acknowledge that there have always been prominent, successful Black contributors to HBCUs. Now a doorway has been opened by Deion Sanders, bringing extensive attention and exposure to HBCUs. We can now look forward to more alumni, businesses and private contributors donating to our HBCUs.

We should expect more Black millionaire entrepreneurs, entertainers, rappers, thespians, singers and professional athletes to invest in our HBCUs—as well as billionaire corporations. HBCUs offer a quality education (with limited resources compared to some PWIs). These learning institutions are immeasurable investments for Blacks in awakening to their history and learning to love themselves and their race. HBCUs have an established history of graduating successful and productive individuals.

Let’s not forget HBCUs were founded because Blacks were denied admission to White universities and colleges. HBCUs’ resources have always been limited when compared to their White counterparts, but they have always been able to make gold bricks from straw—something HBCUs are proud of accomplishing. Let’s continue to take pride in our HBCUs by putting our money where our mouths are.

Let’s pledge as graduates, attendees, community supporters and stake holders of HBCUs to financially contribute to these learning institutions. We would like to make a special appeal to those Black millionaire rappers and professional athletes who spend so much of their money in strip clubs ‘making it rain.’ ‘Make it rain’ on HBCUs. Your money is better spent investing in bettering the lives of the Black youth who support you.

A special acknowledgement of appreciation to P Diddy (Sean John Combs) for his recent million-dollar contributions to Jackson State University and Howard University.

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