Virginia Union is the first recipient of a partnership between impact investment firm The Steinbridge Group, led by Tawan Davis, and the Student Freedom Initiative, a not-for-profit founded by Black billionaire Robert F. Smith.
“Virginia Union is going places we have never been before, because students and the community have high expectations of this institution,” Dr. Hakim J. Lucas, president and CEO of Virginia Union, said in a statement. “The Steinbridge investment will enable Virginia Union to create new sources of income, which will further strengthen our ability to create opportunities for students and the community.”
Davis said downtown Richmond has simultaneously seen a growth spurt driven by people moving into the region and moving close to nearby Virgnia Commonwealth University. However, many HBCUs don’t have the full capacity to catalyze available land into “economically-productive uses for the university,” so his firm is partnering to achieve this.
“America is chronically underhoused and HBCU institutions are chronically underfunded,” Davis, 44, told BLACK ENTERPRISE. “So, our view is that instead of it being just a ‘problem,’ it actually creates an opportunity for us to put together private capital to address it and create a return that is impactful financially—both for the university, and for private investors—and invite those investors to continue to expand their private capital commitment to the institutions as they will.”
Impact real-estate benefits to university “are massive,” Davis says, noting Virginia Union will be able to quadruple or quintuple the value of the land over the period of the investment, versus selling the land outright. The investment will also increase this HBCU’s endowment, anywhere from 13% to 18%, Davis said.
Source: Black Enterprise