Florida A&M University (FAMU) is one of five historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) impacted by the global pandemic to receive $50,000 in direct emergency funding support from Vanguard, the firm announced Friday.
Delaware State University, Hampton University, Howard University, and North Carolina A&T State University were among the other HBCUs that each received $50,000 in direct emergency assistance.
Vanguard also contributed $100,000 to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s COVID-19 HBCU Emergency Fund, which provides resources to ensure students and faculty have access to virtual learning tools, mental health support, and tuition assistance.
“Vanguard believes that diversity, inclusion and belonging are essential to our success as a leader in the asset management industry,” said Crystal Hardie Langston, Vanguard’s chief diversity officer. “Vanguard understands the important role historically Black colleges and universities play in educating some of our nation’s most promising students, and we are dedicated to providing the resources necessary to ensure these vital institutions are given the opportunity to grow and thrive.”
FAMU Vice President for University Advancement Shawnta Friday-Stroud, Ph.D., said at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vanguard team reached to find out how the University was being impacted and to explore ways of assisting. As an existing strategic partner, Vanguard was already providing career development opportunities and curricular enhancements for FAMU students and academic programs, said Friday-Stroud, who is also dean of the School of Business and Industry (SBI) and executive director of the FAMU Foundation.
“The Vanguard team translated our initial pandemic conversation to a financial and human capital investment in Florida A&M University to support the technology needs of our students and the University,” she said. “We are truly appreciative for Vanguard’s continued commitment to strategically partner with us to improve the lives of students during this COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”
Significant gaps in philanthropy and an anticipated decrease in enrollment as a result of COVID-19 have created financial insecurity for many HBCUs and their students. A lack of adequate technological infrastructure and internet access, combined with substantial economic hardship for students and their families, have hindered the ability of many HBCUs to pivot to large-scale virtual learning opportunities. Faced with ongoing financial distress and substantial challenges, many HBCUs are working diligently to implement creative strategies to help make ends meet.
One of the world’s largest investment management companies, Vanguard has a long history of partnering with HBCUs and has developed a comprehensive recruiting strategy designed to reach underrepresented communities. The firm has established long-term commitments with marquee partnerships and conferences, including the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Leadership Institute and the HBCU Career Development Marketplace.
“We are extremely grateful for our partnership with Vanguard and remain thankful for their ongoing support to our nation’s HBCUs,” said Harry L. Williams, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF). “These funds will continue to provide much needed support to our students impacted by COVID-19.”
Vanguard’s Black Professional Network, a Crew Resource Group committed to engaging, encouraging, and supporting Black crew members in their personal and professional development, frequently engages with HBCUs to develop high-impact experiential learning initiatives.
This partnership led to the creation of the HBCU EXPLORE Program, a two-day interactive opportunity that supports the expansion of a diverse talent pipeline across all business areas. Vanguard also frequently holds in-office sessions that are centered on the HBCU experience and are designed to engage and connect crew members, students, and school faculty and administrators. These events not only fuel rich partnerships within the HBCU ecosystem, they also provide education about the rich history of HBCU culture beyond their campuses.