ATLANTA — Three of Atlanta's Historically Black Colleges and Universities are taking part in a groundbreaking collaboration between two of the nation's largest philanthropic organizations.
Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University and Spelman College are part of the first 20 participating HBCUs in the U.S. to be recipients of the HBCU Transformation Project. It's a first-of-its-kind project formed by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and Partnership for Education Advancement to offer long-term progress across HBCUs and impact the Black economy.
"We're telling the story and we're telling a great story about HBCUs and their significance in this country and what they have done for our community," said Dr. Harry L. Williams, president and CEO of the TMCF.
Some of the initiatives that the project will take on include "increasing enrollment, improving graduation rates, reorienting the narratives surrounding HBCUs, ensuring their sustainability, and much more," according to a press release.
Williams said the HBCU's Transformation project has already started with its first cohort.
"The goal is to impact 107, we are starting out with 20 in the first cohort and then we're going to do another cohort with another 20 schools," said Williams. "We've already started this project a year ago."
Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF said the project has already invested in an online program at Spelman College for adult learners, specifically Black women professionals anywhere in the world who want a Spelman experience.
"We've invested in that online program to help them get some of the greatest design folks in the country to come to work with them. On designing a program for Black women professionals online who will have a Spelman experience," said Lomax.
Lomax explained that at Clark Atlanta University they have partnered up with 9 other imitations to build "HBCU Virtual," an online teaching and learning platform.
"Clark Atlanta University will be able to reach students who are not going to come to their campus or elsewhere in the country, who want a Clark Atlanta University experience," he said.
HBCU Virtual will launch in Fall 2022.
Morehouse College will receive funding to allow more students to become students at the HBCU from the project as well, according to Lomax.
"We've been working with them on ensuring that they're doing everything they can to reach all of the Black men who want to be Morehouse men," he said.
The HBCU Transformation Project is meant to build upon what HBCUs have built and what they want to focus on, organizers said.
"We want to do what we can through this program to really focus on giving resources to them that will enable them to meet the goals that they've established for themselves," Lomax said.