Three years ago, North Carolina A&T University Aggies Head Football Coach Sam Washington and his team pulled off a major upset over East Carolina University. After heading back to the locker room, Washington celebrated the win with his team and delivered a post-game speech. First, he congratulated his players for their efforts. Then, he focused on the other matter at hand. The Aggies were owed $300,000 plus travel expenses for traveling to East Carolina University. At this moment, he delivered a viral statement.
“One last thing, tell them to bring me money," he shouted as he celebrated with his players.
In 2021, Washington could be saying the same exact thing. The nation's largest historically Black university has raised $88 million since last summer. That figure equates to six times what the university raises annually.
"There has not been a year like that ever in our history," North Carolina A&T's Associate Vice Chancellor Todd Simmons told NPR.
"Nor has there been a year like that in the history of nearly any other public HBCU in America."
North Carolina A&T is not the only HBCU to experience a record-breaking year. Spelman College, Morehouse College, Howard University and Prairie View A&M University have all received record-breaking donations from the likes of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and Amazon stockholder MacKenzie Scott.
"It was a record-breaking year," Thurgood Marshall College Fund President Harry L. Williams said.
"We have never, ever seen anything like this for HBCUs."
Many of these large donations came from those inspired by the events of the last summer. The unjust deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many others prompted many to give back to Black businesses, nonprofits, schools and causes.
"With the social unrest with George Floyd, we have seen an uptick in the amount of support for our HBCUs in this country, and one of the major supporters has been MacKenzie Scott." Williams said.
Now, the goal is to keep these types of donations coming in at a steady rate. Williams is working to make sure that others don't see giving back as a "one time" action.
"We don't want it to be a one-hit-wonder," he explained.
"We don't want it to be just 'Hey, this was one of those outlier years and you'll never see this again.' We're working very hard to keep this as part of the dialogue."
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