The presidents of six colleges and universities in South Carolina met Thursday morning with the chief executive officer of a private foundation that has given at least $2 million to a pair of historically black colleges and universities in this state.
Rip Rapson, president and chief executive officer of the Troy, Mich.-based Kresge Foundation, met with students and toured the campus of Benedict College, which, like Claflin University, has received a $1 million grant to boost its fundraising capability.
"This is a great shot in the arm," Love Collins, Benedict's executive vice president for institutional advancement said of the grant.
Kresge, which gave organizations $206 million in 2008, has teamed with the United Negro College Fund to enhance the fundraising efforts of historically black colleges and universities across the country.
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Claflin got a $1 million grant last year. Benedict got the first payment of what will be at least $1 million in Kresge-UNCF funding in July, Collins said.
Benedict is to get $300,000 over the first two years of what is expected to be a broad, five-year effort to expand its fundraising system.
In year three, the school will receive $400,000.
Collins said the school could receive an additional $250,000 in each of the next two years if program development plans go well.
Benedict will use the money to hire fundraising staff, expand advertising and improve its computerized donor tracking system, Collins said.
"We want to be able to raise money as the majority institutions do," Collins said.
Rapson said historically black colleges and universities serve an important role in higher education.
"The uniqueness of HBCUs is in serving kids who have not traditionally had the same opportunities as other kids," he said.
Cleveland Sellers, president of Voorhees College, was one of the college presidents who attended the breakfast with Rapson.
He said historically black colleges and universities often have struggled to secure private giving.
"We have to find more and more resources to have the kind of faculty and research and programs that will help our students become good students and successful citizens," he said.