The I Love Howard campaign is a grassroots fundraising effort led by three Howard University alumni committed to raising $20,000 for the university’s endowment by October 1st. The campaign is designed to compel Howard University graduates, students and supporters to give.
Howard University was established in Washington, D.C. by a charter of the U.S. Congress on March 2, 1867 as “a university for the education of youth in the liberal arts and sciences.” Howard is home to many legends, those we idolize—Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Kamala Harris and Vernon Jordan—left a place for us at the table and it is pertinent we leave room for future generations.
Donations will be presented to the university’s endowment through Howard University’s annual fund. Endowments are an important and permanent source of revenue for institutions—supporting faculty, research and development, public service programs and activities, student financial aid, and future operations. The endowment is the lifeline of colleges and universities, and everyone connected to the institution has a vested stake in its ability to grow.
Launched six months ago on Valentine’s Day, the campaign is rooted in leveraging the love and pride that many Howard University alumni have for their Alma mater. Few other HBCU fundraising initiatives have brought this level of transparency, innovation or customer service to their efforts. I Love Howard is using several digital platforms to amplify the collective Howard University experience through anecdotes of love in the form of photos, videos and text.
The campaign is about putting your money where your love is,” said Michelle Janaye, campaign chair. “Howard University has given us so much in terms of support, confidence, an appreciation for community service and overall excellence, it’s now our turn to give back. I believe that if you love something, you will invest in it financially.”
The I Love Howard campaign also seeks to raise awareness about endowment disparities that exist between HBCUs and predominately white institutions (PWIs) in order to provoke a change in alumni giving habits. While Howard’s $460 million endowment is impressive among HBCUs, endowment values for other colleges and universities in the Washington metropolitan area are staggering. The George Washington University boasts an endowment of $1.3 billion, Georgetown University boasts $1.2 billion while The University of Virginia claims a $5.17 billion endowment.
In an era when most HBCU operations are tuition dependent, alumni giving averages 5-8% and endowments pale in comparison to PWIs, I Love Howard is refreshing in its reach to draw on the spirit of innovation and leadership that founded and will sustain our beloved alma maters.