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Black Couple’s $5 Million Donation To Howard University Is School’s Largest Alumni Gift

A Black couple gifted Howard University with a $5 million donation earlier this week. Eddie and Sylvia Brown, who both graduated from the university in the ’60s, sent the donation to support the school’s Graduation Retention Access to Continued Excellence (GRACE) grant which is typically awarded to students with financial hardships. According to the school’s press release, the gift marks the largest alumni donation in the school’s 154-year history. 

“We are extremely grateful to Eddie and Sylvia for making this historic gift to Howard University,” Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, said. “The GRACE Grant has helped to eliminate financial barriers to education for Howard students, and I am thrilled that the Browns were inspired to commit such a generous gift to this important fund. My hope is that students will be inspired by their story and generosity and that others in our alumni community will consider the many ways they, too, can impact current and future generations of Howard students.”   

Eddie is the founder, chairman and CEO of Brown Capital Management, a Baltimore-based asset management firm that is the second oldest Black-owned investment management firm. According to AfroTech, he earned a full-ride scholarship to the school and received a degree in electrical Sylvia supported her way through school with student loans.

The couple says they were inspired to give back now that they are more than able to.

“We were very fortunate to be able to go to Howard,” Sylvia said. “I had student loans, and I know how hard that is. Being from a family of four, my parents did the best they could, but that was never enough to pay for all the fees. And that’s been our mantra, to give to others and help them at least be able to get an undergraduate degree so they have a good foundation.”

“I remember a minister of ours said something that we never forgot,” Eddie said. “Those who are blessed should be a blessing to someone, especially those less fortunate. We always remember that. I was blessed to receive my college education debt-free, and I think it’s important to offer those less fortunate the opportunity to do so as well.”

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