HBCU Transformation Project Receives $124M to Support Enrollment, Graduation, and Employment


September 18, 2023

A coalition of several historically Black colleges and universities is getting some major financial support.

The HBCU Transformation Project, a coalition of 40 historically Black colleges and universities, recently announced a $124 million gift from philanthropic funders Blue Meridian Partners.

According to its website, Blue Meridian Partners is a “pioneering philanthropic model for finding and funding scalable solutions to the problems that limit economic and social mobility for America’s young people and families in poverty.”

The gift to the HBCUs is intended to help increase enrollment, graduation, and employment rates for graduates. 

The United Negro College Fund is acting as an intermediary and will oversee the funding. UNCF president and CEO Michael Lomax called the donation a vote of confidence in the coalition, which includes public and private schools.


“This very significantly scaled grant from them signals to the philanthropic community that this is a really good investment to make,” he said of the Blue Meridian gift.

The donation will expand the work of the HBCU Transformation Project. Blue Meridian has given $75 million toward the project since 2020. The money is proving to help the institutions reach their goals — seeing that early results on improving enrollment and other core operations were substantial.

“It made it relatively straightforward to say, ‘Clearly, we’re just beginning this work. Institutions have been underinvested and need more investment, and we believe that we can play a catalytic role in bringing resources to the table,’” said Jim Shelton, president and chief investment and impact officer of Blue Meridian Partners. 

Shelton added that they were actively seeking additional support from other funders to expand to more schools.


According to UNCF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also donated $17.6 million in funding, JP Morgan Chase donated $4.5 million, and Capital One donated $1 million.

Photo by Chad Robertson Media / Shutterstock

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