Hampton University to benefit from new philanthropic initiative

Free Press staff report | 6/29/2023, 6 p.m.
Hampton University was awarded $750,000 as part of an inaugural $10 million plus venture capital fund, The Historic Fund. The …
President Williams

Hampton University was awarded $750,000 as part of an inaugural $10 million plus venture capital fund, The Historic Fund. The new fund aims to bolster the endowments of historically Black col- leges and universities (HBCUs), as well as highlight their importance and the role they play in promoting equity and inclusion in higher education, according to a news release issued by the university.

“An endowed university is not only an institution of learning, but a beacon of endurance and limitless possibilities. It grants us the flexibility to adapt to emerging challenges, seize new opportunities and invest in the long-term sustainability of our institution,” said Hampton University President Darrell K. Williams. “We are grateful to have the support of this special venture capital fund. To be in the inaugural cohort of The Historic Fund is an honor. It allows us to foster an environment of intellectual curiosity, empowering students to become globally astute leaders of influence. The significance of a robust endowment cannot be overstated.”

The Historic Fund is a unique philanthropic initiative. Selected HBCUs can become limited partners without investing their own assets. Instead, the funds are raised from partners of the participating funds: Acrew Capital. B Capital, Cowboy Ventures, First Round Capital, FirstMark Capital, Foundry, General Catalyst, Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures.

The schools will function as traditional limited partners and will be free to use the returns as they wish.

The partnerships also will foster connections between the HBCUs and the venture capital community, expanding opportunities both for funding and for employment. The Historic Fund hopes to develop programming for students interested in entrepreneurship, as well as support administrations exploring alternative asset class strategies with their endowments.

Mr. Chenault

Mr. Chenault

“As we continue to combat the racial inequities that Black students face, The Historic Fund aims to relieve the disproportionate financial pressure on Black families, while also providing essential funding for research and innovation at each of these institutions,” said Ken Chenault, chairman and a managing director of the venture capital firm General Catalyst. Mr. Chenault was the CEO and Chairman of American Express from 2001 until 2018.

Along with Hampton University, the inaugural cohort of HBCU partners will be Benedict College, Bennett College, Fisk University, Florida A&M University, Morehouse College, Virginia State Univer- sity, Virginia Union University and Xavier University of Louisiana.