Howard University recently announced that the school had been given a $5 million gift from Eddie C. Brown (BSEE’ 61) and C. Sylvia Brown (BS’ 62). The funds will support the Graduation Retention Access to Continued Excellence (GRACE) Grant for students facing financial barriers.
Eddie Brown leads Brown Capital Management as its founder, chairman, and chief executive officer. The firm is a Baltimore-based asset management firm, the second oldest African American-owned investment management firm in the U.S.
“I remember a minister of ours said something that we never forgot,” said Eddie Brown. “That 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.”
The $5 million donation marks the largest alumni gift to Howard University in the school’s history.
“We are extremely grateful to Eddie and Sylvia for making this historic gift to Howard University,” said Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick in a written statement. “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.”
Frederick established the GRACE Grant to help students who faced financial barriers and encourage students who completed their freshman year to graduate on time. The program, created in 2014, provides a 100% match for students who receive the maximum Federal Pell Grant. It also provides additional funding for those with an expected family contribution (EFC) of $0.
Since the grant was started, GRACE recipients saw an average 17% increase in retention and an average four-year graduation rate of 78%, which amounts to a 32% increase compared to students in the same financial category who did not receive GRACE funds.