Walmart Foundation Renews its Support of HBCUs with $500,000 Grant to UNCF

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Monique LeNoir UNCF Communications 202.810.0231

Funds to support HBCU competitiveness and improved infrastructure, technology and student outcomes

UNCF  announced today that the Walmart Foundation will invest $500,000 towards the long-term stability of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). For the 11th consecutive year, the Foundation has helped to fund the UNCF Institute for Capacity Building (ICB), specifically the accreditation services it offers. The Foundation’s support enables UNCF to provide its member institutions access to consultative services, technical assistance and mini-grants to help navigate the accreditation processes, improve institutional operations, and meet fiscal management and sustainability needs. Since 2011, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have provided over $4 million in support of various UNCF programs.

Like many institutions of higher education, HBCUs face institutional challenges that range from difficulties with organizational structures to concerns with governance. These challenges manifest as problems with student enrollment, faculty development and financial management. In an effort to lessen or eliminate those issues, UNCF awards targeted grants, funded by the Walmart Foundation, to assist in the implementation of proven and innovative strategies to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of member institutions.

“Over the last decade, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have donated more than $4 million to UNCF. They play a vital role in helping UNCF to continue improving students’ academic experience and the overall infrastructures at our member HBCUs. Funding this type of program demonstrates Walmart’s and the Walmart Foundation’s commitment to supporting scholastic excellence and ensures graduates of our member institutions are well-prepared for entry into their profession,” remarked UNCF CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax. “The results of these grants will expand HBCUs’ ability to remain competitive and continue to have such an enormous impact—an impact that amounts to $14.8 billion annually to the U.S. economy.”

Accreditation services offered by ICB provide member institutions with financial support and on-site technical assistance aimed at addressing critical institutional needs. Participating institutions receive multi-faceted assistance to prepare for the reaffirmation of accreditation process. The

Walmart Foundation grant will help UNCF-member institutions prepare for the comprehensive 10-year accreditation reaffirmation or the five-year interim report, as required by their respective accrediting body, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) or the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). ICB also provides high-priority technical assistance to institutions that require additional support beyond the normal accreditation cycle.

For 2018, five institutions – Interdenominational Theological Center, Livingstone College, Paine College, St. Augustine’s University and Spelman College – were selected for 10-year reaffirmation reviews and awarded $20,000 grants and technical assistance support. Two HBCUs – LeMoyne-Owen College and Wiley University – were selected for the five-year interim review intervention, and each received a $10,000 grant and technical assistance support. Four other HBCUs – Bennett College, Bethune-Cookman University, Fisk University and Johnson C. Smith University – have received high-priority technical assistance support from ICB. In total, the Foundation’s investment has supported and strengthened 11 HBCUs this program year.

“At the Walmart Foundation, we are committed to creating opportunities, so that people can live better. We are proud to support HBCUs, which have a long history of creating educational opportunities for emerging leaders and supporting local communities,” said Julie Gehrki, vice president of the Walmart Foundation. “Working with impactful organizations such as UNCF, we can help institutions remain competitive, complement their curricula with state-approved accreditation and help them continue on the path of educating future generations.”

The grant also funded the 2018 UNCF ICB Professional Development Institute held July 23-25, 2018 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The event provided HBCU staff with training in data management and the use of analytics to improve student success. Participants also had a rare opportunity to convene with the UNCF® Career Pathways Initiative as they engaged in activities that purposefully disrupt higher ed norms to facilitate a more robust and intentional 21st century student learning environment.


About Philanthropy at Walmart
By using our strengths to help others, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation create opportunities for people to live better every day. Walmart has stores in 27 countries, employing more than 2.2 million associates and doing business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. Our philanthropy helps people live better by supporting upward job mobility and economic development for the retail workforce; addressing hunger and making healthier, more sustainably-grown food a reality; and building strong communities where Walmart operates and inspiring our associates to give back. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit

About UNCF
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, 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