Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and right before graduation weekend, the HBCU community convened virtually to share strategies and strengths for growing and sustaining our historically Black colleges and universities.
The HBCU Action Nation virtual town hall included a discussion on 21st Century & Digital Fundraising. It was a call to action for HBCUs – and other Black-led organizations.
Christal Cherry, session moderator and executive consultant at Bridge Philanthropic Consulting and The Board Pro, shared highlights. “Strategies included revisiting the case statement so that our stakeholders are clear about what we are doing to remain relevant, operational, and impactful at the height of the COVID-19 virus outbreak. Participants were encouraged to engage donors consistently; use the right platforms; and to take advantage of technology by sharing thoughtful messages with videos, colorful pictures, strong testimonials, and stories that emote compassion and empathy.”
“There was dialogue about the importance of collaborating and partnering with businesses in surrounding communities to make sure the interests and future challenges of HBCUs are being addressed. Last, the panel discussed the importance of staying active in the philanthropic community by reaching out to funders to provide updates and sharing how dollars raised will be used to support our missions. This was stimulating and enlightening dialogue about ways our HBCUs can emerge stronger and viable in a new normal. We realized that this crisis provides an opportunity for us to forge a better reality for all of us particularly our HBCUs.”
Edward Jones, Vice President of Programming for ABFE – A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities joined the panel, sharing a timely call to action. “The HBCU Action Nation convening is a reminder that no institution that primarily serves Black people – new or legacy; large or small – is exempt from the threat of extinction. Before COVID-19, Black lives and institutions were under persistent threat. Yet, we continue to fight. COVID-19 is just the latest opponent, which seeks to disproportionately erase us. The virus has lifted the cover off of the inequities that we know – and that too many have denied. This gathering is a reminder that our battles aren’t singular, and our warriors are many. We have to keep reminding one another that we must mobilize together and get all hands on deck. Our arsenal is vast, so we must continue to leverage all our assets and commit to stay in the fight. We must get – or stay – in the ring, because I believe that we have all that we need to win.”
Dwayne Ashley, founder and chief executive of Bridge Philanthropic Consulting, joined the panel sharing how important it is to remember that people and institutions are giving, will continue to give, and that many will increase their giving.
Finally, we participated sharing the importance of making a clear case for giving, and the need to welcome all African Americans into the HBCU family as “honorary alumni.” Our belief: Black people across the generations have benefited from our HBCUs whether they attended or not.
Video from the virtual town hall will be available on Facebook shortly.
Copyright 2020 – Mel and Pearl Shaw
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