The Steinbridge Group Makes $100M Commitment To HBCUS

January 26, 2024 Steinbridge

The Steinbridge Group Makes $100M Commitment To HBCUS

Black EnterpriseImpact Investors partner with Robert F. Smith’s Student Freedom Initiative to Select Recipients.

For Black- and minority-serving colleges with challenges attracting or retaining top faculty due to sky-high residential real estate prices, a new partnership aims to make real estate more attainable in the surrounding communities for faculty, first responders, and local professionals. The Student Freedom Initiative (SFI) is collaborating with the Steinbridge Group on its recently announced $100 million capital commitment to develop attainable housing near historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).

“In order to educate and train the next generation of diverse leaders and innovators, institutions must have access to an affordable education, and they must be surrounded by a thriving community,“ said Robert F. Smith, founder and chairman of Student Freedom Initiative.

“Through Steinbridge’s commitment, these communities will have the resources to transform underutilized space to help to attract and retain talent while helping to make a college education affordable for students.”

Tawan Davis is the founder and CEO of the impact investment firm Steinbridge Group. He said he looks forward to partnering to support HBCUs in various ways. As part of the initiative, Steinbridge said it plans to collaborate with partner HBCUs “to make it possible for graduates to become homeowners, building wealth in communities that are at risk of displacement due to the impacts of gentrification in transitioning neighborhoods,” according to a firm statement.

“This collaboration with the Student Freedom Initiative will help us engage with these institutions to discuss pathways to access our $100 million capital commitment that activates their underutilized real estate and expands their economic base,” Davis said, citing the value HBCUs provide in producing leaders in law, business, and healthcare.

Steinbridge and SFI will review interested HBCUs and MSIs and select those that will receive investments toward development efforts. Eligibility criteria include land ownership within the community suitable for economic and community development, the capacity to execute an expansive development project, and leadership positioned to galvanize the initiative, according to Steinbridge.

Keith B. Shoates, chief operating officer of the Student Freedom Initiative, added that this collaboration also addresses the enormous student loan debt burden, as Black students typically carry more than twice as much in student debt as their white peers. A UNCF report also shows that HBCU students borrow student loans at higher rates and, consequently, graduate with substantially higher debt than their peers at non-HBCUs.

“A portion of the proceeds of the developments will support the Student Freedom Agreement fund, SFI’s affordable student loan option. Notably, the Student Freedom Fund will ultimately become an Endowment Without Walls for all SFI partners,” Shoates stated.

While this significant investment focuses on housing in the surrounding community, social media has shone a light in recent years on inadequate and outdated student housing at some of the nation’s HBCU campuses.

Read the full article at Black Enterprise.