Attending an HBCU: The best decision I ever made


My name is Patrick Johnson. 

I graduated from Fisk University. Attending Fisk was the best decision I ever made. I could spend hours describing how it shaped my professional and personal life. I believe HBCUs prepare generations of African-American and other students to become scholars, professionals, and community and world leaders. As a fundraising consultant, I am committed to helping them secure the support they need for their missions.

HBCUs typically do not see advancement programs as part of their business model.   Instead, many simply go through the motions of emailing, mailing and calling their alumni each year, without thinking about how philanthropy can take them to the next level. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard an HBCU exec say something like, “Anyone can work in advancement. All you need to do is make a few calls and ask for money.” 

Fundraising has grown increasingly sophisticated, and HBCUs need to invest time and capital in advancement. These upfront commitments can seem demanding, but I guarantee that institutions leave much more money on the table by refusing to make them.

I’m contributing to this blog to help HBCUs build advancement programs on par with the best.  I hope that you will share your experiences and thoughts as well. Please comment below and/or contact me at

Patrick Johnson
Senior Consultant