In just over 18 months Edward Waters College’s new leadership is setting a highly productive philanthropic pace

Jacksonville, FL – February 25, 2020 – The close of last month marked an 18-month milestone for the new leadership at the helm of Edward Waters College (EWC)–the State of Florida’s first independent institution of higher education and Florida’s first historically black college or university (HBCU). Relatedly, during that period the historic Jacksonville college has raised just over $3.1 million dollars in private gifts, pledges and in kind-support from a variety of stakeholder sources

including its own academic community of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and board of trustee leaders as well as local and national business and philanthropic supporters, partners, and friends of the college. The $3.1 million-dollar figure represents an overall 30% increase in private gifts, pledges, and in-kind support received and of record over the previous 18-months.

“We believe the increased level of philanthropic support for EWC is indicative of an ever growing sentiment, awareness, and appreciation for the high value proposition offered by an Edward Waters education” said Edward Waters College President & CEO, Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr.

Beginning in the summer of 2018 the historic Jacksonville college and its new leadership began an aggressive friend and fundraising initiative titled the campaign for Emerging Eminence aimed at enhancing its relationships with the college’s existing philanthropic partners while simultaneously expanding efforts towards developing and cultivating new philanthropic supporters. The results have been demonstrably effective as President and First Lady Faison within their first month at Edward Waters kicked off the campaign by making a lead $25,000 gift to the College spurring EWC’s faculty and staff to close the most recent fiscal year having achieved a college-wide 100% giving participation rate. In addition, amongst EWC’s Board of Trustees overall total giving from board leadership has risen by an astounding 85% over the prior 18-month period.

“As Board members we continue to fully actualize our role as lead philanthropic advocates for Edward Waters College and are proud to have heightened our efforts as committed financial supporters who are dedicated to advancing EWC’s historic mission under the leadership of our President and his administrative team” said Chairman of the Edward Waters College Board of Trustees, Bishop Adam J. Richardson, Jr.

Apart from being the beneficiary of increasing support from its own internal constituencies, philanthropic beneficence from the local Jacksonville business, civic, political, and philanthropic communities yielded signature financial support for the establishment of new academic initiatives, institutional programs, and campus facilities upgrades including but not limited to the new Honors College at Edward Waters, construction of the new Tiger Stripe Café in the Student Union Building, new bleacher installation in the Adams-Jenkins Sports & Music Complex (March 2020), campus lighting enhancements and improvements, launch of the new Charles H. Pearce Institute—EWC Summer Bridge Program, and the establishment of the Student Recruitment and Retention Incentive Program for EWC employees which in December 2019 resulted in a quadrupling of the annual winter financial supplement historically awarded to all EWC faculty and staff.

Relatedly, the College’s new business model also emphasizes strategic leveraging of campus vendors and service providers in the cultivation of new partnerships with national brands whose overall missions and corporate social responsibility agendas align with the mission of Edward Waters College. These new partnerships have yielded quantifiable outcomes to support Edward Waters College and its students in forms ranging from increased funding for student scholarships and the enhancement of student living and learning experiences to a forthcoming and transformative new student technology access initiative with a national partner aimed at improving overall student academic performance and student success at EWC.

“Our unyielding commitment to provide students with an affordable, high quality educational experience that is rigorous and relevant and that most importantly marks them as globally competitive leaders is a worthy attribute that we are excited to see others enthusiastically supporting”, said EWC Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Development, Marketing and Communications, Dr. DeShanna Brown.

“The increased support garnered by the College over the last year and a half is truly representative of the growing momentum of support from our institutional stakeholders and new partners who have truly bought into the dynamic and bold new vision of President Faison for our academic community” Brown said.

EWC’s latest fundraising campaign is one strategic objective under the College’s newly adopted EMINENCE 2025 5-year strategic plan that seeks in part to engender a culture of new institutional philanthropic support to the College and establish the Edward Waters brand as a best-in-class institution of distinction and Emerging Eminence.

“I’m exceedingly proud of the collective fundraising and donor cultivation efforts of our Board of Trustees, administration, and the entire EWC community over these past 18-months” said President Faison.

“Even more, I am brimming with anticipation concerning the new resource development and fundraising opportunities that remain on the horizon for our institution going forward. While its true we’ve had a prodigious and highly productive 154 years, I truly believe the best days for EWC are still yet to come”.


About Edward Waters College
Edward Waters College (EWC), accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), is a private, historically black, urban college which offers a liberal arts education with a strong emphasis on the Christian principles of high moral and spiritual values. EWC was established in 1866 and is an African Methodist Episcopal Church-related institution of learning. It is the first private institution of higher education in the State of Florida.