The Foundation is the successor to the NCCU Advisory Committee, which launched the $1 million Endowment Fund Campaign in 1971 under the leadership of the chief executive officer of Liggett & Myers, Milton E. Harrington. The Endowment Fund Campaign's objective was to raise money to recruit and retain outstanding scholars to replace those who retired or were lured elsewhere because of more lucrative opportunities.
As the horizons of the University and the Committee expanded, the need for an independent organization was recognized. The organization, which became the North Carolina Central University Foundation, would raise money not only for endowment but for a variety of purposes. Never before in the history of NCCU have private funds been more essential to nurturing the special excellence that has characterized the University over the years.