She’s Pretty and Black Owned: Meet Dominique King

I Heart My HBCU is a Black and female-owned spare-change platform dedicated to supporting Historically Black Colleges and Institutions (HBCUs).
Established in 2017, I Heart My HBCU is the first organization to seamlessly integrate spare change technology and targeted fundraising to preserve the rich heritage and combat challenges that lead to the closures of some of these great institutions.

Founder Dominique King, a Houston native and Howard University graduate, is passionate about preserving the viability of these institutions and knows first-hand the importance of not only the cultural significance of HBCUs but the vital role that education plays in the many successes of African Americans for nearly 200 years.

While HBCU alumni are large in numbers, King understands that preserving the tradition will take a community effort and has created an integrative platform for alumni, friends, families, and supporters beyond the traditional donor marketplace. The app includes constantly updated features, including chat rooms, alumni group crowdfunding, a networking exchange, and more.

What inspired the start of ” I Heart My HBCU”? You can include as little or as much detail as you’d like.  

I initially created I Heart My HBCU in 2016 to open the donation market to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc in 2018, I supported the organization as we rallied together to raise funds for Bennett College to help prevent it from closing and losing accreditation. At that moment, I knew that my idea was more significant than I had originally envisioned, and I needed to help ensure that no other HBCU had to endure the same challenge. 

What has been the biggest challenge of running a brand like ” I Heart My HBCU”? 

The biggest challenges that I have faced since launching I Heart My HBCU aside from the traditional start-up issues, would have to be navigating the scope of tech within a non-profit space, and understanding how to protect the ideation while still focusing on effectively growing the business.  

How does ” I Heart My HBCU ” impact the community?

 At face value, it is a monetary impact, but it’s bigger than that. I Heart My HBCU is influencing a new cultural norm in changing how we give to HBCUs. 

By encouraging donors to select more than one institution, our goal is to build up not just the well-known names but encourage the community to support the lesser-known HBCUs, so no one is forgotten. We aim to create a community environment with the hopes of creating thoughtful conversations that can spur change. 

How can readers donate and directly be a part of this great movement?

The app is available for both iOS and Android in their respective app stores.  

Where do you hope to see your brand in the next 3-5 years? 

Ultimately, we want to continue to scale up as an organization, supporting more, donating more, and reaching more members of the HBCU alumni, friends, and family network. In the immediate, our goal over the next 12-24 months is to achieve 10,000 user downloads per institution, one day reaching the 1,000,000-user mark.  

I also envision I Heart HBCU bringing my community together to uplift one another for initiatives that go beyond the HBCU community but impact the Black community at large. 

What advice do you have for the next generation of entrepreneurs? 

It may sound cliché but follow your dreams. “Vision without action is just a dreamaction without vision just passes the time, and vision with action can change the world.”- Nelson Mandela 

What does being “Pretty and Black Owned” mean to you? 

Pretty Girls Rock! and let’s be honest Black Girls Do It Better, so Pretty and Black Owned means the epitome of excellence. 

Connect with Dominique King and The I Heart My HBCU Community by visiting http://www.iheartmyhbcu.org

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