Alumni of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have long been criticized for failing to give back after graduation, studies show.
In turn, most HBCUs have ignored alumni as potential donors. But not Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina – and their efforts paid off.
The university’s alumni have donated nearly $90 million toward the institution’s capital campaign, exceeding its first phase goal of $80 million, President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale announced last week, according to The Times and Democrat.
More than 52.2 percent of the university’s graduates have contributed, notes the report. That is nearly four times more than those at other HBCUs, which were created to educate African-American students.
What’s Claflin’s secret?
“Leadership and leadership giving,” he said, according to news outlet. The university’s board of trustees has collectively given $5.8 million. Faculty and staff have donated $2 million toward the campaign, notes the report. FromThe Times and Democrat:
“This campaign is unique,” Tisdale said, according to the publication. “It is big. It is the most ambitious campaign in the history of the university.”
The campaign began in 2008, initially seeking donors within Claflin’s inner family, he tells the publication. The project expanded in 2011, announcing publicly its goal was to raise $96.4 million.
From that time, at least 15 donors have given in excess of $1 million each, including Sodexo Campus Services, the corporation that provides food and facilities management at Claflin. It gave $4.35 million.
James Bennett, a member of Claflin University’s board of trustees, is chairman of the campaign, which he says was not about keeping the lights or doors open on campus, but about hopes and dreams.
“And we didn’t want to go out and ask from others to do for us what we hadn’t already done for ourselves,” he said.
What an inspirational message. Congratulations to the Claflin family.