Thurgood Marshall’s Legacy Is Alive And Thriving Thanks to Focus on Equity & Inclusion


WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 27, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Thurgood Marshall College Fund President and CEO Harry Williams recently was part of a panel at Chicago State University on the State of Equity in Illinois Higher Education. Like many in attendance, Williams was startled to discover that the percentage of Black students attending colleges in Illinois decreased by 37 percent.

The fight for equity is the engine that fuels the mission of Thurgood Marshall College Fund. It is what makes every employee wake up each day with the mission of impacting future generations of students and changing the world one leader at a time.

It is also a passion to continue the work and enhance the legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall, a two-time HBCU graduate of Lincoln University and Howard. He dedicated his entire career to focusing on areas that let him set legal precedents to dismantle segregation and Jim Crow laws in the South.


Marshall fought in lower courts and argued in the highest one for constitutional rights while championing the politically disenfranchised and the socially oppressed in stifling courtrooms under the menacing eyes of those who did not want him there. He was dignified and believed with the Constitution on his side; he could venture forward with essential change.

The recent Supreme Court decision on Affirmative Action was a huge step backward in the journey to equal opportunity for all in America, punctuating the need to build new systems that foster equity and inclusion. As a result, a partnership with TMCF is more critical than ever because its expertise in creating large-scale talent solutions for corporate partners seeking to maintain a diverse talent pool will prove essential, as traditional university recruitment strategies will yield a less diverse workforce.

Serving as a resource to help educate corporate communities, employers can leverage TMCF’s

wealth of experience in maintaining diversity in their talent pipeline by creating collaborations with HBCUs and designing equity programs that lead to more effective hiring and retention strategies. TMCF’s data-driven approach ensures meaningful metrics and program evaluations are tracked to showcase the impact of the initiatives and alignment with broader organizational goals.

TMCF contributes positively to society because it promotes access, equity, and inclusion by pioneering large-scale talent solutions for key industries, nuturing the growth of Black talent from HBCUs through scholarships and leadership development, all while fevently advocating for the long-term sustainability of these esteemed institutions.  

In working tirelessly to level the playing field and removing barriers to access, TMCF addresses racial inequity in corporate America through partnering with major Fortune 100 corporations to build dedicated HBCU talent development pipelines that include soft skill training, internships, mentoring, and other programs that help to prepare students to succeed long-term in corporate careers. TMCF continues to be guided by its mission and strategies, focusing on deepening its impact, reach, and program quality.

HBCU students—low-income and minority students—often do not complete college due to a lack of financial and non-financial resources and do not have access to career readiness preparation, leading to high drop-out rates and high student loan debt, expanding the racial wealth gap. HBCUs have been inequitably funded throughout history. TMCF seeks to support capacity building for HBCUs to better position institutions’ financial, technology, and human infrastructure to better serve and educate students.

Students receiving TMCF scholarships and supportive wrap-around services have a college graduation rate of 97 percent. The national Black college graduation rate is 21 percent. First-generation students receiving TMCF scholarships and supportive wrap-around services continue into their second year at a rate of 85 percent. The national college retention rate for first-generation students is 10 percent.

Overall, TMCF advances equity by addressing the educational and career-related disparities faced by HBCU students, supporting their institutions, and advocating for policies that promote access, success, and inclusion in higher education and the workforce.

For those companies and corporations who believe in widening the space of opportunity of equity and being positively affiliated with TMCF, advancing educational equity and social justice for historically marginalized communities is a no-brainer because it is in the DNA of TMCF.

CONTACT: Rob Knox Thurgood Marshall College Fund 6108001044 [email protected] 

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