UNCF Praises House Passage of Increased Funding for the HBCU Historic Preservation Fund
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6147, a “minibus” appropriations bill, which includes funding for the Department of Interior for FY2019. This department houses the HBCU Historic Preservation Fund created to preserve the legacy of historic structures on historically black colleges and university (HBCU) campuses that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Earlier this year, the fund was appropriated a total of $5 million for FY2018. When H.R. 6147 was being considered on the House floor, two amendments directly increasing funding for the HBCU Historic Preservation Fund were offered and passed by voice vote, providing an additional $3 million in total for the fund. Overall, H.R. 6147 proposes a total of $8 million in funding; however, the Senate has yet to take a vote on FY2019 funding for this important program.
“I applaud the House for including increased funding for the HBCU Historic Preservation Fund,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF. “I strongly believe that HBCUs are national treasures that should be preserved, and I thank the representatives for their hard work on securing this vital funding that puts us one step closer to providing HBCUs with the needed resources to restore and maintain their historic buildings.”
Representatives Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Alma Adams (D-NC), and Terri Sewell (D-AL) offered an amendment that would provide an additional $2 million directly to HBCUs. In a joint statement, they said, “Most HBCUs were founded after the Civil War to provide higher education to African Americans, most of whom were newly freed from slavery. These institutions continue to serve a vital purpose and have deep historical connections with African Americans and American history. We are very much supportive of restoring and preserving the tremendous history of these institutions.”
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) offered an amendment that would provide an additional $1 million directly to HBCUs. “We, as a nation, have a responsibility to foster education, culture, knowledge, diversity and leadership,” said Jackson Lee. “We have a responsibility to ensure that HBCUs continue to serve as repositories of American history and thrive as academic institutions and continue to benefit society as a whole.”
The HBCU Historic Preservation Fund was first authorized in 1996 to make grants to HBCUs and has proven to have a significant impact on the ability of HBCUs to maintain important historical sites on their campuses.
UNCF (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, 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 nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF awards more than $100 million in scholarships annually and administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in.”® Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities. Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous news and updates, follow UNCF on Twitter @UNCF.