Last year, we reported on Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated’s work to help get funding for HBCUs. We highlighted Glenda Glover, international president of AKA and president of Tennessee State University, and the endowment AKA had established for nearly 100 HBCUs. The plan was to donate more than $10 million in the next four years.
Xavier Peoples, a private wealth advisor in Capital Bank’s Private Client Services division, has joined the group of dedicated individuals and entities nationwide who recognize the importance of preserving HBCUs. He is the founder of HBCU Change, a newly-launched app that rounds your retail purchases up to the nearest dollar, and donates the change to your historically Black college or university of choice.
I caught up with Peoples to find out more about the app.
TNJ.com: Why did you create this app?
Xavier Peoples: Many HBCUs rely heavily on government funding and sporadic big donations. I wanted to create a resource that consistently gives back to HBCUs to provide donations they can count on year in and year out.
TNJ.com: How does it work?
Xavier Peoples: So, you’ve downloaded the HBCU Change app. When you sign up, you link your credit or debit card to your account. Whenever you make a purchase, we will automatically round up the total to the nearest dollar and donate the change to the HBCU of your choice. Let’s say your favorite salad costs $6.75. HBCU Change rounds that purchase to $7.00. That 25 cents is called a round up. When your round-ups reach $5.00, HBCU Change automatically transfers that amount from your checking account to your HBCU Change account, and donates that money to the HBCU of your choice.
TNJ.com: Why did you gear this specifically towards HBCUs?
Xavier Peoples: Many HBCUs struggle to keep their doors open due to lack of funding. HBCUs are essential to the Black ecosystem and the Black economy. If one HBCU closes its doors, the impact is immeasurable.
TNJ.com: Did you yourself attend an HBCU? If so, what do these schools mean to you?
Xavier Peoples: I did not attend an HBCU, but I come from a family of HBCU graduates. My dad attended Savannah State University, my wife attended Spelman and many more. I understand that HBCUs are the engines that make the Black ecosystem run. The strides that African Americans have made in this country would be non-existent if it weren’t for HBCUs.
TNJ.com: What role do HBCUs play for students from underserved communities?
Xavier Peoples: HBCUs give students from underserved communities opportunities that they would not otherwise get at predominantly white institutions. Not only do they give them opportunities, they nurture these young people and give them the education, confidence and pride to go out and conquer the world.