The United Negro College Fund received a $100 million donation from the Lilly Endowment Inc.. They announced last week that it is the largest unrestricted gift ever made to the organization. The donation will help endow the 35 HBCUs that have a UNCF membership. It will boost financial stability at these institutions in the long term.

“The UNCF programs we have helped fund in the past have been successful, and we are confident that the efforts to be supported by this bold campaign will have a great impact on UNCF’s member institutions and their student’s lives,” N. Clay Robbins, chairman and CEO of the Lilly Endowment, said in a statement, according to AP News.

The UNCF hopes other organizations will take note of this initiative.

“They’re trusting the judgment of the United Negro College Fund to make a decision about where best to deploy this very significant and sizable gift,” Michael Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF, said. “We don’t get a lot of gifts like that.”

He noted the financial disparity between HBCUs and their counterparts.

“We don’t have the same asset base that private non-HBCUs have,” Lomax added, saying that HBCUs lack “a strong balance sheet as a result. And they don’t really have the ability to invest in the things that they think are important.”

He compared these disparities with existing ones between Black and white families.

“Black families have fewer assets than non-Black families,” he said. “They live paycheck to paycheck. Many of our smaller HBCUs live on the tuition revenue semester by semester. They need a cushion. This is that cushion.”