What is a fragile community?
CAO defines a fragile community as communities where residents — no matter their race or ethnicity — face significant barriers to opportunity. These communities are characterized by high crime, lack of quality educational options, and severely limited economic and social upward mobility opportunities.


What is an HBCU?
An HBCU is a congressionally defined term that means Historically Black College and University. In order for a school to be considered an HBCU it must meet three criteria. It must be:

  • An accredited institution of higher learning;
  • Established before 1964; and
  • Created with the principal mission of educating Black Americans.

HBCUs are historically Black but not exclusively Black. HBCUs offer educational opportunity to all students, regardless of race. Of the 101 HBCUs, 53 are public and 48 are private.


How long will the Center for Advancing Opportunity last?
The Center for Advancing Opportunity is a dynamic initiative that began in 2017 for an initial five-year partnership. In that time, we’re learning and evolving to be better positioned to support faculty and the communities they serve in the years beyond.


How much money from this gift goes to each university research center?
The Center for Advancing Opportunity will tailor grants to university faculty based on the proposed research and programs.


How many HBCU campus research centers will be funded and where will they be?
The campus research centers we support will be determined by the proposals we receive. We look forward to reviewing grant requests from many researchers working to expand their work in issues such as education, criminal justice, and entrepreneurship.


What is the difference between the Washington, DC center and the campus research centers?
The headquarters Center for Advancing Opportunity, located in Washington, DC, serves as the administrator of grants and the coordinating body for all projects under the center – such as the annual research with Gallup and the student scholarships. Campus-based centers are faculty-driven and are focused on their individual research priorities, such as education, criminal justice, and entrepreneurship.


Will the focus be more overall on criminal justice reform, education reform or entrepreneurship?
Ultimately, the focus will be dependent on the findings of the independent research conducted at each of the campus research centers.