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    October 2, 2023

    Morehouse College recently raised $1.5 million during a Call to Action on Convocation Day. It was the first 24-hour fundraising campaign launched by an HBCU to prepare for anticipated growth in the wake of the Supreme Court decision ending affirmative action in higher education.

    The fundraising challenge, issued by Morehouse President David A. Thomas, inspired alumni, benefactors, employees, and friends to give to Morehouse to help expand its resources for scholarships and teaching opportunities.

     Thomas launched the Call to Action in a video message  and letter to the Morehouse Community in September, adding a new day of philanthropy to the College’s activity calendar: “Now is the time to take a stand to offer deserving students who may feel displaced by the cancellation of affirmative action a bright future at an institution that has been producing outstanding leaders since 1867,” Thomas wrote in his letter.

    National studies have estimated that the end of affirmative action in college admissions could cause a 10 percent decline in enrollment for people of color at predominantly white institutions and could lead to a dearth in Black leadership. A decline in diversity in corporate America has also been predicted.

    The Call to Action challenged philanthropists, foundations, and corporations that have declared a commitment to address racial equity to become Morehouse College partners and consider investing at the highest levels to scale and resource Morehouse in ways comparable to what is frequently done for majority white institutions.

    “Morehouse and other selective HBCUs have much in common with the likes of Yale, Harvard, Emory, and Amherst, judging by the contributions and achievements of our graduates,” Thomas said. “The institutions differ, however, in the size of their endowments and unrestricted giving to support scholarships, technology, state-of-the-art facilities, and expansion.”

    Thomas said that he expects that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling will trigger a doubling of applications for admissions at Morehouse over the next three years. Interest in attending Morehouse has been steadfastly increasing in recent years.

    Black families researching college options with their children are now even more likely to “seek high-quality educational institutions where their children will not be isolated but flourish and engage with role models that inspire them,” Thomas said. “Companies, government, and nonprofit organizations will also need to turn to selective HBCUs even more for their talent needs.”

    Morehouse currently educates more than 2,300 students annually, more than half of whom come from families with average household incomes of $40,000 or less. The institution is the only historically Black liberal arts college dedicated to educating and developing men to be leaders, scholars, and community servants. Morehouse is also the top producer of Black men who go on to receive doctorates, according to the National Science Foundation.

     Thomas said that HBCUs such as Morehouse have a proven track record of launching alumni into influential and lucrative careers in every sector and are worthy of investment to ensure that access to highly selective college options endures for students of color.

    Morehouse College is in the middle of a $500 million fundraising campaign to drive investment in student scholarships, campus improvements, innovative academic programs, and faculty recruitment, research, and retention. To lead the effort, the College hired a new Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Hodan Hassan, a veteran fundraising executive with more than 25 years of experience serving higher education institutions and global humanitarian organizations.

    Hassan said response to the Call to Action led to the development of new partnerships with philanthropists, corporations, and foundations that are interested in investing in Morehouse. 

    “Morehouse has had an outsized impact on producing leaders who have used their influence to improve racial inequality and equity in the nation,” Hassan said. “If Morehouse were to attract investment comparable to what some Ivy League schools receive annually, the College could scale its transformative educational and leadership development programs, offer more scholarships, renovate its campus, and expand its research initiatives, increasing the institution’s reach as a proven pipeline of social mobility into the middle class for students, and a global thought leader offering solutions to address social justice issues.”

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