Virginia State University To Receive A Portion Of $10.35 Million From The Historic Fund

The new venture capital fund of funds, The Historic Fund, names Virginia State University as an HBCU to receive funds to promote equity and inclusion in higher education. 

The Historic Fund, a new venture capital fund, has announced that Virginia State University is a HBCU partner supported in the inaugural $10.35 million-dollar fund. The fund is the brainchild of prominent investors and operators in the venture capital ecosystem who recognize the importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their role in equality and belonging.

The fund of funds aims to bolster the endowments of HBCUs and foster connectivity between these institutions and the broader venture capital community. As an HBCU partner, Virginia State University will have opportunities to expand into the venture capital world for funding and employment. The opportunities have historically been concentrated amongst graduates of select universities. The Historic Fund hopes to leverage its position at the intersection of the HBCU and the venture capital communities to develop programming that expands opportunities for students curious about entrepreneurship and innovation while supporting administrations exploring alternative asset class strategies with their endowments.

"This partnership is a tremendous asset to helping secure the bright future of Virginia State University. It will bolster our endowments without a tremendous risk to our limited resources," said Robert L. Turner, Jr. Esq., Executive Director of Virginia State University's Foundation Board. "Acquiring and distributing these financial resources places VSU in a financial arena that has not traditionally been a part of our financial repertoire.”

This is a unique opportunity presented by the Historic Fund for Virginia State University to be a limited partner without the risk of investing VSU assets. Instead, contributions of fundraised capital are from the following partners: Acrew Capital, B Capital, Cowboy Ventures, First Round Capital, FirstMark Capital, Foundry, General Catalyst, Spark Capital, and Union Square Ventures.

"Thank you to the Historic Fund for this investment," said VSU President Dr. Makola M. Abdullah. "We always appreciate the people and companies that recognize the value of what we do at Virginia State University. This investment represents an interest in the advancement of the HBCUs that consistently provide minorities with the access and opportunity to achieve their Greater."

The fund will also support a variety of under-represented fund managers via its stake in First Close Partners, a venture fund with the mission of making venture capital more inclusive that invests in funds led by underrepresented managers. The schools will function as traditional limited partners in a venture capital fund and will be free to use the returns as they choose.

"We are grateful for our collaboration with the Historic Fund because our mission is to close the wealth gap in America through the lens of education. The endowments of HBCUs are significantly lower than that of other universities that may not have faced similar historical biases," said Mr. Mark Brown, Executive Director of the Student Freedom Initiative. "We added up the endowments of 70 percent of the HBCUs and still did not have a total greater than the smallest endowment of our nation’s Ivy League schools. We know there are systemic reasons for this wealth gap, and the Historic Fund is aptly named and focused on helping bridge this gap." 

Virginia State University joins Benedict College, Bennett College, Fisk University, Florida A&M University, Hampton University, Morehouse College, Virginia Union University, and Xavier University of Louisiana in this cohort of HBCU partners.

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