Because most Black Studies programs and many departments continue to struggle for adequate support from their universities, this question sparked an intense discussion focusing on the usefulness of obtaining funding models from other disciplines, the problem of scarce resources, and institutional stratification. Although the group acknowledged the Ford Foundation’s valuable and valued support, they concurrently voiced frustration with the criteria of many philanthropic organizations for giving. Gaines expressed the opinion that one of the primary deterrents to major support for Black Studies is the field’s inability to boost its image. He explained that a paradox exists between Black Studies contributions and lack of perceived value among Black students. Guy-Sheftall asked a series of important questions regarding fundraising and Black philanthropy.
During the discussion of this topic—the answers to which most agreed are at the heart of developing and sustaining the field—participants from institutions that have not depended on outside funding provided alternative models. Additional suggestions were made that provided insight into innovative ways of using funds and personnel already at hand. This issue is clearly an area in need of further discussion and perhaps workshops that bring in administrative staff from other programs that have been successful in obtaining sufficient and significant funding.