Howard University (309371)

After falling for one another at Howard University in 1957, Eddie C. Brown and C. Sylvia Brown are returning to support their alma mater. The couple donated $5 million to aid the efforts supported by the Graduation Retention Access to Continued Excellence (GRACE) grant, reports Essence.

The funds from the grant program have been earmarked “for students facing financial barriers.” It matches funds from federal Pell Grants. The university reported that “GRACE recipients saw an average 17 percent increase in retention and an average four-year graduation rate of 78 percent, a 32 percent increase compared to students in the same financial category who did not receive GRACE funds.”

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are severely underfunded in comparison to predominantly White Institutions (PWIs). This is the largest financial gift in Howard University history.

Sylvia said the gift is not about giving back but “paying it forward.”