Spelman College Receives Largest Ever For HBCU Donation

Spelman College Receives Largest Ever For HBCU Donation

WBLS Staff
01/19/2024 02:08 PM EST

Atlanta based Spelman College recently made history by receiving a monumental $100 million donation. Thus marking the largest single financial contribution ever made to a HBCU.

The generous donation comes from billionaires Ronda E. Stryker, a Spelman trustee since 1997, and her husband William D. Johnston, the chairman of Greenleaf Trust.

The announcement was made on Thursday (Jan. 18), with Spelman expressing gratitude to the philanthropic couple for their unprecedented support. The college shared an official statement on social media, accompanied by pictures capturing the reactions of faculty, students, and alumnae to the groundbreaking news.

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Spelman Board Chair Lovette Russell addressed the significance of the $100 million gift during a spirited event in Sisters Chapel. Russell proclaimed it as the largest donation in Spelman's history and the largest ever to any HBCU. She described it as a "transformational gift" that would profoundly impact the institution.

The financial allocation of the donation, as reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, earmarks $75 million for scholarship funds to support the HBCU's next generation. The remaining $25 million will be utilized to enhance campus life conditions, including the improvement and renovation of dormitories and a focus on public safety and democracy.

Spelman President Dr. Helene Gayle expressed deep emotion and inspiration, emphasizing the profound impact on the future of young women on campus.

“The ability to secure the future for the kinds of young women that I see every day on campus was just awe-inspiring and incredibly, deeply emotional and deeply moving,” President Dr. Gayle said in a statement. “I hope this is a message that says HBCUs that already punch well above their weight are worth investing in. We know that there’s a huge return in investment.”

The donation also reflects a broader trend of increased support for HBCUs, with Spelman reporting an endowment of $571 million in 2021. The college had previously received significant donations, including $30 million from Stryker and Johnston in 2018.

The recent gift follows a week after the United Negro College Fund announced a $100 million donation from the Lilly Endowment Inc., aiming to boost the long-term financial stability of HBCUs.