Thurgood Marshall College Fund Celebrates 35-Year Legacy

Washington, Jan. 19, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On January 19, 1987, Dr. N. Joyce Payne founded the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), creating opportunities for students who would not have access otherwise. TMCF’s motto, “Where Education Pays Off”, holds firm to this day, 35 years later. 

TMCF has a history of success supporting nearly 300,000 students who attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and creating pathways to economic mobility through degree attainment and lucrative careers. Since its founding in 1987, TMCF has awarded over $300 million in scholarships for students and boasts a 97 percent graduation rate for students in its programs. 

“This bore witness to the true essence of Justice Thurgood Marshall and our primary mission to provide opportunities to those who otherwise would not have access,” said TMCF President & CEO Dr. Harry L. Williams. “We believe HBCUs possess the power and the people to create a more equitable society, that’s why we work so diligently to ensure their sustainability and strengthen their capacity to continue to produce top talent who are prepared to change the face of leadership.”

HBCUs have established themselves as critical platforms for the education and advancement for students of color. HBCUs represent only 3% of higher education institutions yet confer 17% of all bachelor’s degrees earned by Black Americans and 24% of all STEM degrees earned by Black students.

Original plans for TMCF were focused on providing scholarship opportunities for need based students attending the publicly-supported HBCUs. Today, TMCF’s impact includes not only scholarships but HBCU capacity building, upskilling and equity programs, and career opportunities with top-tier organizations

Williams evolved TMCF’s mission to focus on future work force development when he joined the organization in 2018. Since then, TMCF has worked hard to build a framework to accelerate change in the national social system, partner with Fortune 500 leaders to intentionally diversify the future work force, and close the racial wealth gap.

“Even in the midst of the challenges we face as a nation —a pandemic still raging and an economy still reeling—TMCF is committed to producing the students and innovative programs that our country needs,” Williams said.

TMCF’s Key Dates

  • 1987 – TMCF is founded in the namesake of Justice Thurgood Marshall.
  • 2000 – TMCF’s signature professional development program, the Leadership Institute, began.
  • 2018 – President & CEO Dr. Harry L. Williams joined TMCF and evolved our mission to focus on future work force development.

About the Thurgood Marshall College Fund

Established in 1987, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. TMCF member-schools include the publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions, enrolling nearly 80% of all students attending black colleges and universities. Through scholarships, capacity building and research initiatives, innovative programs, and strategic partnerships, TMCF is a vital resource in the K-12 and higher education space. The organization is also the source of top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs.

TMCF is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization. For more information about TMCF, visit:


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