Thurgood Marshall College Fund

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Inc. (TMCF), named for the late U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice, was established in 1987 and represents 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) located in 22 states, the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands with a population of 235,000 students. By the end of 2009 the Thurgood Marshall College Fund had awarded more than $100 million in leadership development, programmatic and capacity building support, and scholarships to students attending member schools. Scholarships have enabled over 12,000 students to attend public Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Thurgood Marshall College Fund is a 501(c) 3, tax-exempt organization and has a “Four Star” rating by Charity Navigator (“Your Guide to Intelligent Giving”). The Thurgood Marshall College Fund was established in 1987 to carry on Justice Thurgood Marshall's legacy of ensuring equal access to higher education by supporting exceptional scholars attending America's public historically black colleges and universities as well as six law schools which historically taught black students. This contrasts with the United Negro College Fund which supports private colleges.

Thurgood Marshall College Fund (formally Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund) was founded under the leadership of Dr. N. Joyce Payne, Director of the Office for the Advancement of Public Black Colleges (a division of the National Association of State Universities and Land- Grant Colleges), in cooperation with Phillip Morris USA, Miller Brewing Company, Sony Music, NBA, Reebok, and the American Association for State Colleges and Universities. Dwayne Ashley served as President and CEO for 10 years and raised more than $100 million during his tenure. He succeeded Johnny Parham, who served as Executive Director for 5 years.

Public Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been educating young men and women for over 168 years. TMCF is the only national organization to provide merit scholarships, programmatic and capacity building support to 47 public HBCUs. Since our inception, TMCF has provided more than $100 million in scholarships and programmatic support to students attending our 47 member public HBCUs and 6 Historically Black Law Schools.

More than eighty percent of all students enrolled in historically black colleges and universities attend TMCF member schools. Many public HBCU graduates have become leaders in the business, government and entertainment industries. However, few of these achievements would be possible without the support of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Ninety percent of all students attending public HBCUs require some form of financial assistance.

The Fund was renamed the Thurgood Marshall College Fund in 2006. It is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization and has a “Four Star” rating by Charity Navigator.


During its first 22 years, TMCF has awarded more than $100 million in scholarships and support. The TMCF has a partnership with the Lilly Endowment Inc. which funded the training of over 600 Development executives at the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy. In 2003, TMCF, five of its member universities and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation began a partnership to reform education at six high schools in rural and urban communities in Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina and Texas.

In 2007, the TMCF funded a study of minority recruiting practices by Fortune 400 companies and by government agencies that found that 13% of the college graduates were recruited from HBCUs and 87% were recruited from non-HBCU schools.

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