What is the Absalom Jones Fund?
The Absalom Jones Fund for Episcopal HBCUs supports two institutions affiliated with The Episcopal Church since the 1800s: Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Voorhees University in Denmark, South Carolina.
In 1804, Absalom Jones became the first African American to be ordained a priest in The Episcopal Church. His witness to the way of Jesus included efforts to abolish slavery and to lift up all those cast down. He understood that education is the key to empowerment. We honor Absalom Jones by supporting our HBCUs, which prepare the talented leaders who will continue the work of building a more just and humane society.
What is an HBCU?
Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were founded to create dynamic, supportive, and empowering educational environments for young people from diverse backgrounds. Today there are more than 100 HBCUs in the United States, including public and private institutions and professional schools of law and medicine.
According to a study published by the United Negro College Fund, today’s historically Black colleges and universities are responsible for producing approximately 70 percent of all Black doctors and dentists, 50 percent of Black engineers and public school teachers, and 35 percent of Black lawyers.
Why support our Episcopal HBCUs?
Voorhees University and Saint Augustine’s provide an excellent liberal arts education to thousands of students, the majority of whom come from low-income households, and over 40% of whom are the first in their families to attend a four-year college. The Gospel work of education and emancipation, evangelism and formation, reconciliation and commitment to a just and humane society and world is happening at these schools! Yet in today’s economic and political climate, HBCUs increasingly struggle to secure the funds they need to maintain their facilities, retain excellent faculty, and provide much-needed student financial aid.
Saint Augustine’s University
Located in Raleigh, North Carolina, Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) was founded in 1867 by the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. More than 1,000 students pursue bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees at SAU, while adult learners engage in advanced studies in criminal justice, organizational management, and religious studies. The mission of the university is to sustain a learning community in which students can prepare academically, socially, and spiritually for leadership in a complex, diverse, and rapidly changing world.
A private historically Black four-year liberal arts college located in Denmark, South Carolina, Voorhees was founded as the Denmark Industrial School by Elizabeth Evelyn Wright, a young Black woman, in 1897. A former student of Booker T. Washington, Wright dreamed the seemingly impossible dream of starting a school for African American youth in rural Bamberg County, South Carolina.
Your gift today will make a difference in a student’s tomorrow.
To learn more about funding needs and how you can help, contact T.J. Houlihan in the Office of Development:
(212) 716-6271 or email
To donate by mail, please send your contribution to:
DFMS – Protestant Episcopal Church USA
P.O. Box 958983
St. Louis, MO 63195-8983
Donations can be made out to “The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society” with Absalom Jones noted in the memo section.
If you are a church or diocese responding to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s call to dedicate the offering gathered at liturgical services in honor of Absalom Jones to our Episcopal HBCUs, you can find bulletin inserts here and a press release here.