Leading Impact Investment Fellowship launches HBCU Cohort

Long running program aims to further contribute to diversity in the investment industry

Washington, DC and Jacksonville, FL – 24 February 2021 – The Kirchner Impact Foundation and Kirchner Food Fellowship are pleased to announce an impact investing cohort for students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

As a pioneering program in developing venture capital allocators in food and agriculture, the program is enhancing its aim to help address the lack of diversity within the VC sector through the launch of the HBCU Cohort. Only 6% of investment professionals in venture capital are people of color, with approximately 82% being male. A 2018 study found that 40% of venture capitalists surveyed are alumni of Harvard or Stanford. To date, Kirchner Food Fellowship (KFF) alumni represent over 40 institutions, 9 countries, and gender parity.

Candidates must be graduate or undergraduate students attending a Historically Black College or University. Fellows will need to reflect characteristics such as self-motivation, intellectual curiosity, and be passionate about the power of business for social and environmental change, specifically in addressing global food security challenges.

The program is demanding. Selected students will be investing real money in a real company while remaining full-time students at their respective universities. They will be actual “impact venture capitalists” for an academic year, looking to invest in a minority-owned business, helping to improve both diversity in capital allocation and access to funding for BIPOC entrepreneurs. This real-world rigor and responsibility, combined with world class training and support from experienced investment professionals, positions KFF alumni to pursue careers as investors or in adjacent industries.

“We are incredibly excited to launch the HBCU program. This is a labor of love.” stated Hattie Brown, Director of the HBCU program. “Our philosophy is and has been that we are stronger for our collective diversity. As we reflect on the realities of our industry, we see that there is a discrepancy in terms of the talent that exists and the representation of investment decision-makers and entrepreneurs receiving venture capital funding. We want to ensure that our field is one that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive, and workforce development is our way of contributing to that effort.”

“I was delighted to learn about this program launching for HBCU students,” commented Felecia Lucky, President of the Black Belt Community Foundation. “Having graduated from historic Tuskegee University, I appreciate the importance of this initiative. Knowing the mission and dedication of the Kirchner Impact Foundation, I look forward to seeing the impact.”

The Kirchner Food Fellowship is made possible through the support of the Kirchner Group, partner organizations and individual donors. Kirchner Group has a three-decade history working with agriculture and food companies from start-up to exit and is one of the leading boutique groups in the sector. The Fellowship support is part of its “returning” initiatives and capitalizes on Kirchner’s unprecedented track record and network.

Kirchner Food Fellowship
The Kirchner Food Fellowship is a pioneer in the lean impact investment movement, harnessing the power of highly committed millennial talent to find, fund and assist promising socially responsible, for-profit agricultural businesses to advance Global Food Security. The program has proven that it is possible for newly formed investment teams to become effective venture capital allocators in a matter of months by using a “real world, real time, real money” model. The combination of compressed learning time frames and low operating costs makes it possible to more cost effectively deploy smart and impactful capital in parts of the world were angel capital is needed most, leading some to describe the program as “Peace Corps meets VC”. For more on the program or to apply please visit www.fundthefood.com and our recent AgFunder article.

The Kirchner Food Fellowship is an initiative of The Kirchner Impact Foundation (501 (c) (3)) one of the “returning arms” of Kirchner Group, that focuses on harnessing the positive power of enterprise to make a difference in addressing some of the most important issues of today. www.kirchnerimpact.com

Hattie Brown | Director – HBCU Cohort | +1 917.239.5704 | hbrown@kirchnergroup.com
Steve Dauphin | Director | +1 205.602.9845 | sdauphin@kirchnerimpact.com

Kirchner Group
Kirchner Group was founded in 1985 as a boutique firm and today operates various subsidiaries, providing advisory services (M&A, assessments, diligence) and operational support (interim management, workouts, turnarounds) as well as asset management (dedicated, portfolio optimization) – all leveraging a proprietary approach that dovetails domain and process expertise.

Throughout the decades Kirchner Group has been internationally recognized for its unique business model centered around creating value while promoting values: “earning while returning”. The firm has also established a reputation for building and rebuilding important business and social paradigms based on its deep entrepreneurial orientation.

Kirchner Group’s clients and partners include early stage to mid-market companies, venture capital and private equity firms as well as family offices and some of the world’s largest insurance companies, commercial banks and institutional investors. www.kirchnergroup.com

Blair Kirchner | Managing Director & Co-Head of Impact Activities | Kirchner Group | 902.817.2405 | bgkirchner@kirchnergroup.com