HBCU Grad Donates Coffee Sales to St. Augustine’s University


April 3, 2024

It’s been a tough spring semester for the historic St. Augustine’s University, but one HBCU graduate is trying to turn things around–one cup of coffee at a time. 

Marcia Cox is a third-generation HBCU grad and owner of Kaldi’s Coffee House and Roastery, a coffee shop in Charlotte, North Carolina where she makes her own pastries, tea and coffee. When she heard about the financial and accreditation challenges facing Saint Augustine’s University, an HBCU based in Raleigh, N.C., she wanted to use her cafe and her creativity to help.

Cox created the 1867 –a medium roast with hints of fruit and chocolate–inspired by St. Augustine’s University, which was founded that very year. She plans to donate 30 percent of sales of that blend to the Falcon Pride Initiative, a fundraising campaign launched last year by the university to help preserve its accreditation and financially support the school.


“It could really be any one of our HBCUs. A lot of them sometimes are just one moment away from going through anything,” said Cox, an alumna of neighboring North Carolina A&T University. “As an HBCU family, we should be helping each other out as much as we can because of the important legacy and history of HBCUs.” 

HBCUs nationwide are underfunded by at least $12 million, according to an analysis from the U.S. Department of Education, and many of these historic institutions are in danger of permanently shutting their doors. This week, St. Augustine’s students and staff transitioned to virtual learning with classes being offered online only for the remainder of the spring semester after the university lost its accreditation appeal in February, though the university remains accredited during arbitration.  


In February, interim president Dr. Marcus Burgess shared an email with university faculty members informing them that they would not be able to be paid.

“Our current financial situation, or lack thereof, has significantly hindered the operations across our campus,” Dr. Burgess said in the email. “Please know that we are tirelessly working to fortify our internal controls and to develop a sustainable business model for our university.”

Many alumni, HBCU grads, and good samaritans are stepping up to help keep the university afloat. Cox hopes her efforts will inspire others to support the historic Black university’s students and staff.


“I wanted to start making roasted coffee for the school because…I could tie my passion for coffee into helping out the community as well,” Cox told WCNC. Cox is still fulfilling orders for the 1867 blend with buyers as far as California seeking to try the coffee and help support the HBCU.

Cover photo: HBCU Grad Donates Coffee Sales to St. Augustine’s University / photo credit: Instagram

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