The Kresge Foundation Grants UNCF $1.12 Million to Strengthen HBCUs

Funds Will Renew Support of the Institute for Capacity Building

Media Contact:
Ashlei Stevens
UNCF Communications


(WASHINGTON, DC) — UNCF, the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization, announced today a $1.12 million grant from The Kresge Foundation, a three-year commitment to renew support of the Institute for Capacity Building (ICB) and formally launch its newly enhanced operating model.

This new ICB grant will enable UNCF to provide technical assistance to 12 of its 37 member colleges and universities, including $214,000 in institutional awards. These funds will be aimed to attract and retain growing numbers of African American and other traditionally under-represented students seeking a college education. The grant will also support:

  • Best practices in the core areas of institutional advancement, enrollment and fiscal management
  • The hiring of new ICB program staff
  • Production and dissemination of an annual ICB publication
  • Six training webinars produced on best practices related to enrollment management, institutional advancement and reaffirmation preparation
  • Reaffirmation preparation for network-wide impact and use

“UNCF values The Kresge Foundation’s sustained commitment to our cause, and this renewed support will only further our mission of helping more deserving African American, low-income and first-generation students make it to and through college,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF president and CEO. “We are deeply grateful for this continued partnership and generous financial support.”

UNCF launched the ICB in 2006, with $8 million in seed funding from The Kresge Foundation. ICB’s primary objectives are to strengthen UNCF’s member institutions and ensure all remain fully accredited. This includes customized technical assistance, institutional grant awards, professional development, and communities of practice that provide opportunities for idea exchange and interaction.

“The Kresge Foundation has a long history of supporting HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities),” stated Chera D. Reid, education program officer at The Kresge Foundation. “HBCUs are critical institutions in the college completion agenda, particularly for African American and under-represented students, and we want to see these colleges and universities continue to thrive. The work of UNCF through ICB aligns directly with this goal.”

UNCF-member institutions have lauded ICB as critical in helping their colleges remain viable and competitive choices for incoming students of color seeking a college education. Since ICB’s launch, many have seen increases in private giving, enrollment and improved performance during the reaffirmation of accreditation process. UNCF believes these are clear returns on investments of targeted technical assistance, thanks to the support of Kresge. Claflin University in Orangeburg, SC, used its ICB funds to help launch a major capital campaign in 2011 with a goal of $94.6 million, which it has now reached. The university has seen increases in student retention, student enrollment, and its endowment. Claflin now has the highest percentage of alumni giving of any HBCU at 52.2 percent.

“UNCF’s ICB has measurably helped our university move to higher heights, from substantially increasing our fundraising efforts to increasing our student enrollment,” said Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, president of Claflin University, which was named HBCU of the year in July by HBCU Digest. “We are now able to compete with some of the top institutions in this country to attract and retain some of the best and brightest students, faculty and staff.”


About Kresge
The Kresge Foundation is a $3.5 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development in Detroit. In 2014, the Board of Trustees approved 408 awards totaling $242.5 million. That included a $100 million award to the Foundation for Detroit’s Future, a fund created to soften the impact of the city’s bankruptcy on pensioners and safeguard cultural assets at the Detroit Institute of Arts. A total of $138.1 million was paid out to grantees over the course of the year. In addition, our Social Investment Practice made commitments totaling $20.4 million in 2014. For more information, visit

About UNCF 
UNCF (the United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 21 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.