Shaw U and St. Aug's presidents meet with Raleigh leaders to discuss ways to increase funding

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Tuesday, October 24, 2023
Shaw U, St. Aug's presidents address Raleigh leaders
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Members of Raleigh's economic development and innovation committee met to discuss ways to increase funding for Raleigh's two HBCUs - Shaw University and St. Augustine's University.

RALEIGH. N.C. (WTVD) -- Tuesday afternoon inside City Hall, members of Raleigh's economic development and innovation committee met to discuss ways to increase funding for Raleigh's two HBCU's in Shaw University and St. Augustine's University.

Shaw president Dr. Paulette Dillard and St. Augustine president Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail were present in the meeting Tuesday to hear from leaders how best both universities can receive more funding in an effort to address the financial gap between historically Black colleges and universities and predominately white institutions.

In doing so, the committee, made up of assistant city manager Evan Raleigh, Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, and councilwomen Mary Black and Stormie Forte, presented those in attendance with an overview of how Charlotte was able to get $250 million into the coffers of its HBCU -- Johnson C. Smith University.

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles' racial equity initiative committed to giving $100 million from the Queen City and secured a commitment of $150 million from the city's private sector.

The $250 million will be used to:

  • Build a Center for Digital Equity at JCSU in hopes of bridging the digital divide that exists
  • Invest in Charlotte's six "Corridors of Opportunity" neighborhoods
  • Transform JCSU into a "top-tier, career-focused" HBCU
  • Ensure organizations commit to racial equity through advancing more Black leaders and leaders of color within their individual corporations

"We certainly don't have $100 million dollars," said Baldwin, who also noted the "stronger" corporate community that Charlotte boasts over Raleigh.

"I want Raleigh to do Raleigh's best at doing this," said Dr. Dillard. "It might not be 250-million. But there is some effort and opportunity that Raleigh can bring. And we want to hear what that can be."

Councilwoman Black suggested the committee and staff members approach the Research Triangle Foundation and the area's research community for funding.

"We have an opportunity to help the City of Raleigh deliver this whole idea of their talk of equity and inclusiveness," said Dr. McPhail. "We can be that powerful engine to help democratize some of the inequity that has taken place. And we are crying out for that opportunity to make that happen."

Both presidents want City leaders to urge businesses that when they do business in the City of Raleigh, that means they are also doing business with Shaw and St. Augustine's. Dillard and McPhail, both, would like the City to be a part of the universities just as much as the universities are a part of the City.

"The City has an opportunity to say we're proud of these two HBCUs," Dr. McPhail said. "We can work with them and collaborate with them and develop resources for now and for the future."

RELATED | Shaw University partners with U.S. Commerce Dept for global business resource center on campus

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WATCH | Our America: The HBCU Experience Special

ABC11 dedicated an hour to the rich history and culture of North Carolina's Historically Black Colleges and Universities.