Historically Black Schools Turning to Capital Campaigns
When Dr. Frank G. Pogue Jr. arrived at Louisiana’s Grambling State University as interim president a year ago, he quickly made an unexpected and unpleasant discovery. The school’s primary funding source—the state—was steadily reeling in the cash line and cutting taxpayer support for higher education, not just at Grambling but all over the state.
Today, faced with state allocation reductions of more than 20 percent, with more cuts on the horizon, the veteran educator is hoping to stem his school’s downward revenue spiral by beefing up his fundraising operations and launching Grambling’s first organized capital campaign. He is not alone. From Louisiana to West Virginia to North Carolina—and many states in between—a growing number of historically Black colleges and universities are coming off the sidelines and finally getting into the major fundraising game. In the face of a cash crunch, the colleges are rushing to launch serious capital and planned giving campaigns.
“There is a difference between the art of appreciation and giving back,” says Pogue, echoing the sentiments of other HBCU presidents. He says HBCU alumni and supporters “have no tradition of giving back.” It is a reality HBCU officials “will have to deal with,” he says.