Delaware State University hosted the annual HBCU Philanthropy Symposium

Delaware State University recently hosted its 8th annual HBCU Philanthropy Symposium at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino July 25-27, 2018.  The HBCU Philanthropy Symposium is an annual gathering of advancement leaders designed to provide a forum for transparent discussions about common challenges and successes regarding philanthropy.

This year’s symposium had the largest and most diverse attendance in the eight-year history.  150 philanthropic and Institutional Advancement leaders representing more than 40 schools and organizations attended from over 20 different states, District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  This year Community Colleges and other Minority Serving Institutions joined public and private HBCUs in a conversation on philanthropy and fundraising.

Participants had the opportunity to engage in dialogue with senior program officers from various Foundations that included the Kresge Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, and JP Morgan Chase.  The symposium also featured keynote addresses by Dr. Wilma Mishoe, president, Delaware State University, William Moses, managing director for Education, Kresge Foundation, and Dr. Harry Williams, president and CEO for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Each speaker reminded the attendees how important it is to continue their work in philanthropy and how it makes a difference to the students they serve.

The overall theme throughout the Symposium was student success.  The Symposium traditionally focuses solely on philanthropy and training for Development professionals; however, this year was the first time the symposium incorporated a discussion with academic success leaders.  Member universities and leaders from Complete College America, the Association of Governing Board Institutional Strategies unit, and the Association of Public Land Grant Universities also participated in the symposium.  The purpose was to help the symposium attendees better relate to how philanthropy impacts the needs for student success at each of the institutions.

In addition to engaging with foundation leaders, the Symposium provided attendees with the opportunity to engage with corporations including Discover Bank, and Delmarva Power/Exelon. The attendees participated in several breakout sessions on professional development and strategy.  The topics were on Annual Giving, Alumni Relations, Campaigns, Major Giving, Prospect research, and a special session for Vice Presidents for Institutional Advancement.  Breakout session leaders were selected through a call for presentations before the symposium.

Rob Henry, vice president, Education at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) was presented with the Symposium’s Advancement Award. The award is presented to an advancement leader with exemplary service in the industry that has been a longtime supporter of the Symposium.

The HBCU Philanthropy Symposium is supported by the Kresge Foundation.  A three-year capacity building grant was awarded in 2016.  Since that time the Symposium has continued to expand its outreach to HBCUs, Community Colleges, and other institutions that serve underrepresented populations with a shortage of resources.  Symposium leaders expect to establish grant funded consortiums with institutions that participate in the annual HBCU Philanthropy Symposium.  The Thurgood Marshall College Fund is also a major supporter.

Information will be announced soon regarding the dates and location for the 2019 HBCU Philanthropy Symposium.  If you have additional questions or would like to learn more about how to participate as a speaker, sponsor, or attend the next Symposium, check the website at