If We Won’t Give Back, Who Will?

In a few short weeks I will be graduating from HowardUniversity, which I believe to be the number one HBCU! However,attending an HBCU has caused me to evaluate some of the commonproblems in our system. Now don’t get me wrong this piece isall in love, but my black sisters and brothers we gotta dobetter.

In my own investigation I have found threeproblems in the current state of HBCU’s. Despite the myopicmyths that circulate about Black schools having poor curriculums,beat-up buildings, and low job opportunities after graduation, Ibeg to differ. First of all, I have found my education to besuperior in many aspects, especially without the fear of beingslighted because of my race. Second, the architecture at manyHBCU’s is standard. Furthermore, where do you thinkcorporations go to recruit the best minorities? Clearly not Whiteschools!

However, that’s not what I am about todiscuss. The problems I have found with HBCU’s arethree-fold: Shoe-string budgets, poor management, and extremely lowalumni give back rates (try 3 percent).

Now I’m not one to pull the race card,but historically and currently HBCUs survive off of a portion ofthe money given to white institutions from the government.Unfortunately, the money we do receive we tend not to manage well,case in point: Morris Brown, which only helps to perpetuate thegovernment’s disinclination over giving large amounts ofmoney and increasing endowments.

A few generations ago our grandparents andgreat-grand parents literally gave their pennies, nickels, anddimes so that generations from now we would be able to obtain aneducation. Today we live off six figure salaries and are stillgiving our pennies, nickels, and dimes. If we don’t give backwho will? Furthermore, if we won’t support us, why should thegovernment? Perhaps it’s nice to return during homecoming toyour Alma Mata and brag about the new job, jag and jewelry, butwhat about giving a little some of that back to your school.

Conceivably, the problem is alumni feel theyhave to give millions in order to give back. Why not try $20 amonth ($120 a year) or if you donated a little over $80 a month youwould be contributing $1000 a year, and if you times that by 10,000graduates, just think of the endowment! Even if you had a badexperience with your school, your contribution could help makethings better for someone else attending. This individualistic,self-centered ideology is not part of our heritage, and quitefrankly, I believe are European ideals.

Martin Luther King once said,”Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause thephilanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injusticewhich make philanthropy necessary.” Ignorance blames racism,but I blame us. The current financial state of HBCU’s is notwhat our people fought for. They deserve more and so do ourHBCU’s. I believe change is waiting on you.