For too long companies and governments in the U.S. have under-funded and under-resourced the anti-racist organizations leveling the playing field for the black communities we stand in solidarity with today. 100+ Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) like my alma mater Morehouse College, and dozens of majority Black talent development organizations like Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), have prepared Black professionals to thrive in spite of covert and overt racism for decades.

Although I'm a beneficiary of these organizations, I have also let these experiences feed into my imposter syndrome at times; Do others perceive that I didn’t do the hard work required or that the bar was lowered for me to be there? Does seeing a Black person reach the office of US President signal that these organizations are no longer needed? No matter how odd those questions may sound, I’ve heard them either in my own head or through the words of others. For those who have had similar moments, letting them become a chip on our shoulders or dampen our commitment to championing these organizations isn’t necessary to ascend, and it would have been unwise for us not to take advantage of any development opportunities we gain access to.

In addition to growing up with the advantages of two loving parents and an extended family of HBCU grads, dedicated people from these talent development organizations helped me imagine and actualize my full potential. Part of my life’s work will be to pay forward the investment that these organizations have made in me and my family for the next generation of leaders, which was crystalized after spending two years working at MLT before business school. During the deeply painful and ongoing deaths of Black citizens such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others at the hands of police and the Covid-19 pandemic, professors and classmates have also helped strengthen my resolve to use my voice now to advocate for change and to support these organizations.

For companies making strategic investments and philanthropic funding decisions, I urge you to prioritize these organizations and institutions as proven solutions that can help accelerate your path towards anti-racism.

Here are three calls to action: 

1. Amplify them:

  • If you share appreciation for any talent development organization that has helped you believe more was possible than what you immediately saw for yourself, please share your own story.
  • If you share appreciation for any talent development organization because of someone you've hired, worked with, or learned from that is an alum, donate and share the name of the organization with others so that they can too.

2. Give your money and your talents: 

MLT, National Black MBA Association, LEAD Business, National Urban League, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Howard University, INROADS, Robert Toigo Foundation, Seizing Every Opportunity (SEO), Consortium for Graduate Management (CGSM), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Council for Legal Education Opportunity, Ron Brown Scholars, QuestBridge, Urban Dove, Year Up

*Don't forget to consider whether your company will match a donation*

  • Links to open roles at organizations and HBCUs actively hiring (will continue to update)-

MLT, SEO, Howard University, Spelman College, North Carolina A&T, Tennessee State, Hampton University, Tuskegee University

3. Get informed: 

  • More about the history and promise of HBCU institutions included below.


Let’s show the nation the impact that organizations focused on black talent have made on the business leadership pipeline and our broader economy!

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Companies must redouble their existing contributions to HBCUs. If you haven’t supported any yet, establish an HBCU as a target recruiting school that receives the same funding and headcount as other target schools. Finally, companies must also advocate with local, state, and federal officials to resource these institutions as the leading source of diverse talent for their leadership pipelines that they are and can be. 

Excerpt from Thurgood Marshall College Fund History 

HBCUs were established in the United States early in the 19th century, to provide undergraduate and graduate level educational opportunities to people of African descent. Black students were unwelcome at existing public and private institutions of higher education, even after the passing of specific legislation, resulting in lack of access to higher education opportunities.

Excerpt from Comprehensive Funding Approaches for Historically Black Colleges and Universities by University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education

“The more than 100 HBCUs in the U.S. receive significantly less state and federal dollars than their white peers (PWIs). For example, in 2008, students at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State received $15,700 each, while the state allocated the HBCUs North Carolina A&T and Fayetteville State $7,800 per student, according to research cited in a University of Pennsylvania study. HBCUs also receive significantly less federal research and development funds than their predominantly white counterparts. In 2015, a U.S. Department of Education official reportedly said, “Any one of [the major research institutions] received more than all of the Black colleges combined. And that’s including Howard University. That’s a disconnect.”

These disparities ring true for leading HBCUs such as Morehouse, Spelman, and Howard but the gaps are even more stark for the majority of HBCUs such as Texas Southern University, Prairie View A&M University, and Huston-Tillotson (all in my home state of Texas). Why is it in all of our interests to give HBCUs more funding? They have simply done more with less, outperforming in circumstances where the deck is stacked against them. HBCUs serve .1% of the overall college student population in the US, but account for 20% of black students who complete bachelor degrees [1]. They have also produced 80% of black judges, 50% of black lawyers and doctors, 40% of engineers, 40% of members of congress, and account for 25% of Black undergrad STEM majors [2,3]. HBCUs are outperforming the average postsecondary institution in terms of upward mobility to the top quintile for the lowest income students [1]. Yet, with 1/8th the average size of PWI endowments, and 75% of students relying on Pell Grants to meet their college expenses, these institutions are at higher risk of financial shocks and are often under-resourced [2]. They are framed as lesser than by some college counselors, and ivy league institutions with extremely generous financial aid packages and beautiful campus facilities/amenities make it harder for HBCUs to attract the enrollments they need to cover costs. The most recent federal data shows that in fall 2017, enrollment into these historical Black universities and colleges was up to 298,138, a 2.1 percent increase from 2016, an increase that came despite the fact that enrollment has continued to decline across all U.S. colleges and universities.

[1] https://www.brookings.edu/blog/social-mobility-memos/2017/01/19/the-contribution-of-historically-black-colleges-and-universities-to-upward-mobility/

[2] https://www.tmcf.org/about-us/member-schools/about-hbcus/

[3] http://www.thehundred-seven.org/stem.html

[4] https://www.essence.com/news/hbcu-enrollment-on-the-rise-amid-increasing-tensions/ 

Excerpt from CNN article on recent HBCU Covid-19 relief funding 

Arthur Brigati, vice president of institutional advancement at Miles College, an HBCU liberal arts institution in Alabama, told CNN that while the $1.4 billion and other aid for higher education earmarked by Congess and approved by the President was "fantastic," it was only a first step in putting the fire out. "Things still smolder," he said. Abdullah of Virginia State said the financial impact of the pandemic was again raising fears that colleges could go under. "We are very concerned that without the adequate federal and state support, many institutions that serve the underserved might not be around," he said. Data already suggests that the percentage of low-income students seeking federal student aid is decreasing -- a sign that they may not be in a financial position to return to school in the fall. Financial applications for the 2020-21 school year from the lowest-income students are down 8.2% -- or nearly 250,000 students -- according to data from the National College Attainment Network.