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Virginia State University Alumnus Owned Investment Firm Makes First Investment In Africa

Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable. – William Pollard

Over the past few years, Founder & CIO, William A. Foster, IV of 15 & 40, a multi-asset investment firm, had been looking to extend its portfolio beyond the shores of the United States. In particular, the firm has become keen on making their first investment in Africa. Through a previous professional relationship that opportunity would come to pass. Mr. Foster was previously head of acquisitions and Regan Mutumbo was previously head of operations at a private real estate investment firm based in Atlanta, GA. It was Mr. Mutumbo’s leadership that actually brought Mr. Foster into the real estate investment firm’s fold and they formed a fast professional relationship that would be the foundation of the later investment. The investment was a classic case of the importance of building a strong professional network and the fruit of opportunities it can bear years later.

15 & 40 invested a ten percent stake in Ciya, a ride sharing app company located in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital city of Kinshasa. It is the firm’s first investment on the continent, but according to Mr. Foster this is just the beginning. “Our plan is to have a major capital footprint across the Diaspora buoyed with strategic concentration in Africa.” More than just capital though, Mr. Mutumbo has met with Mr. Foster in monthly brainstorming sessions to help with the strategy and direction of Ciya. Showcasing the circulation of intellectual capital on a Diasporic scale. The company is named for Mr. Mutumbo’s mother and is his way to honor her legacy. He also is adamant about being part of the foundation that spurs economic development for the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mr. Foster’s Pan-African investment views make it an ideal match for both.

The World Book’s Economic Situation on the Democratic Republic of Congo:

“Economic growth picked up to 8.6% in 2022, keeping the strong momentum from 2021 (6.2%). Mining sector investment and exports remain the key drivers of growth, owing to capacity expansion and recovery in global demand. However, growth in non-mining sectors (particularly services) was modest, slowing down to 3.0% in 2022, from 4.5% in 2021. Stronger export earnings could not offset higher food and fuel bills, and lead to a wider current account deficit estimated at 2.9% of GDP in 2022 (from -1.0% in 2021). Nevertheless, foreign direct investments (FDI) and external financing contributed to build up reserves, reaching 7.9 weeks of imports in 2022, from 5.4 weeks a year earlier, and limiting excessive exchange rate fluctuations. Higher global energy and food prices due to the ongoing war in Ukraine exerted upward pressures on domestic inflation, lifting the average inflation rate from 9.1% in 2021 to 9.2% in 2022.

The fiscal deficit deteriorated to 2.7% in 2022 (from 0.8% in 2021) as improved revenue mobilization could not fully offset higher capital and current spending. Domestic revenues peaked at 15.6% of GDP in 2022, owing to favorable commodity prices and digitalization of the revenue collection process, while expenditures (19.7% of GDP) increased due to exceptional security spending and arrears repayments, in addition to wage adjustments and fuel subsidies. The medium-term outlook for DRC is favorable with growth estimated at 7.5% by 2025. However, DRC’s economy remains vulnerable to commodity price swings and growth performance of major trading partners which might be disturbed by geopolitical conflicts. The continued economic consequences of the war in Ukraine, through rising global food costs and higher oil prices, could exert stronger pressure on fiscal deficit, inflation, and household consumption thus exacerbating poverty and inequality.

Given persistent conflicts in the East, DRC’s immediate challenge is to strengthen security and maintain political and macroeconomic stability while stepping up ongoing reforms to ensure sustainable growth.”

It speaks to a broader opportunity of African America’s ability to leverage American capital and invest mightily alongside their African brethren and create a transcontinental partnerships that for the first time would put a healthy relationship between capital and investment on both sides of the Atlantic. Instead of hostile lending and investment from European Americans, Europeans, and Asians that has been the traditional order of business for African investment, this lays the ground work for a mutually beneficial relationships that should see both sides prosper. “We are here to build and connect institutions of the African Diaspora. For my firm it really is that simple.”, said Mr. Foster. He hopes that HBCUs in particular along with their endowments, foundations, and alumni associations can leverage their collective capital that would allow them to make major investments throughout Africa.

Visit Ciya by clicking here.

Tone Deaf: Harvard Launches A $100 Million Endowment To Itself To Study Its Ties To Slavery – An Amount Greater Than 99 Percent Of HBCU Endowments

“Every year, our white intruders become more greedy, exacting, oppressive, and overbearing. Every year, contentions spring up between them and our people, and when blood is shed, we have to make atonement, whether right or wrong, at the cost of the lives of our greatest chiefs and the yielding up of large tracts of our lands.” – Tecumseh

There are two families in the same neighborhood. The Johnsons and the Smiths. They both have the intention of building magnificent homes for their families. Homes they intend to pass down generation after generation. The Smiths have the Johnsons work for them and build their home, hold them hostage in fact on their land while they do so, and after their home is finally finished and pristine allow them to leave and go off and build their own – at least that is what the Johnsons think. As the Johnsons work diligently to build their home, they often awake many mornings to see their work burned to the ground, members of their family kidnapped in the middle of the night never to be seen again, and yet they persist in building their home. They often end up having to buy low quality materials from the Smiths at arguably predatory prices and even after purchasing these materials may awaken to see those same materials stolen or damaged, and yet they persist in building their home. Sometimes they catch the Smiths in the act of harm, but more times than not it is as if they are ghosts in the night. To make matters even more complicated, sometimes the Smiths will invite the Johnsons over for days at a time and allow them to sleep in their attic. The Johnsons often naively believing that the Smiths are wanting to commune with them often failing to see that every moment they spend entertaining and staying at the Smiths is a lost day they could be building their home. And while the Smiths enjoy being entertained by the Johnsons and having them sleep in their attic they are well aware only one of them has a home for their family. A place that is theirs. This reality has given the Smiths control of the neighborhood at every social, economic, and political turn. The Johnsons know that without their home being finished they will never be able to have a place to call home, but fewer and fewer of the family wants to continue building the home. Instead, they find themselves more and more settling for sleeping in the Smiths attic, cooking their food, and entertaining them and while they seem “free” to go and come as they wish, somehow they are right back where they started and their entire ability to exist is dependent on the Smiths. 

The greatest magicians in history know that the key to any successful magic trick is the sleight of hand. To have one’s audience focused on what they believe is happening while actually something out of their focus is instead happening. Harvard University is the nation’s largest non-system endowment at approximately $50 billion. It is an amount that is well over 15 times the size of ALL HBCU endowments combined. To put in perspective just how insulting the $100 million endowment Harvard created for itself is, if it were an HBCU endowment, then it would rank number eight among the 2022 HBCU Money Top 10 HBCU Endowment list. It could easily double the size of all HBCU endowments with roughly 5 percent of its endowment. To add to the harshness of that reality, the gap between the top ten PWI endowments and top ten HBCU endowments has skyrocketed over the past the past decade from $103 to $1 in 2013 to a staggering $128 to $1 in 2022, there is absolutely no movement to atone for what slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation did to HBCUs and African American institutions. Simply put, write the check – but we know they will not. 

For all of the frustration African America has with European American conservatives across the South, their European American liberal counterparts offer little more than lip service to right history’s wrongs, especially on the institutional level. And even when they “attempt” to do so they always do it in a way that leaves that them just as institutionally empowered and us just as institutionally dependent. A recent example of this is European American owned banks like J.P. Morgan and others “investing” in African American owned banks in the wake of the George Floyd protests. These banks did not simply write a repertory check to African American owned banks and step back so the African American owned banks had the autonomy to build with it as they saw fit. No, they “invested” and ensured that they receive the public relations bump for doing so while also ensuring that they are able to profit from anything they put into African American owned banks. Never is it, we know we owe you for the damages done and that we have disproportionate wealth and resources because of the history of slavery and Jim Crow. It is instead, a flashpoint like George Floyd’s death that European American institutions maneuver to look more inclusive by letting a few of us in their house to sleep in the attic, cook their food, wash their clothes, entertain them, all the while knowing that we still will have no home. 

Harvard could have easily paid five to ten HBCUs between $10-20 million each to conduct the same research. Both accomplishing its goal of studying its ties and actually helping the financial coffers of HBCUs. This would have given a precedent for other PWIs who could then do the same with the same result. Assuming there are other PWIs that want to broach that subject of their own history. Harvard could have also picked up the mantle and took the vanguard on an effort to have itself and the rest of the top 25 largest endowments in the country redistribute $6 billion into HBCUs with those PWIs paying proportional to the size of their endowment. America’s largest twenty five endowments combine for $454.6 billion which works out to $151 to $1 for all HBCU endowments combined. A $6 billion infusion from those twenty five endowments would equate only 1.3 percent of their total. A percentage that is still less than the representation of HBCUs (3 percent) of the U.S. higher education institutions. 

Instead, Harvard pats itself on the back with an accounting trick and says to the world and primarily to African America that it is serious about what who knows. This initiative got an immense social bump within African America when the now former president of Prairie View A&M University, Dr. Ruth Simmons, in one of her last events on the campus hosted the outgoing president of Harvard University and creator of the slavery initative, Dr. Lawrence Bacow. The Pan-African historian Dr. John Henrik Clarke would say we (African American institutions and leadership) are doing ceremony without substance. Harvard acknowledging or not acknowledging their ties to slavery does nothing for the social, economic, or political capital of HBCUs and African American institutions. Yet, we give them space in our spaces and credit for something that we already knew – that PWIs have exorbitant resources pools in large part because African America was choked for centuries from being able to build themselves into competitive institutions – and that is as true today in 2023 as it was in 1823 and 1923.

The whole of African America’s education problem does not solely lie with HBCUs, but starts from early childhood through graduate school. An African American child can not go from birth through graduate school in the African American educational pipeline. Other communities most certainly can and do. We have yet to see the profound problem with our educational dependency and as such have done nothing to formulate a strategy let alone act on one. We see Harvard and its peers lure us into a false sense of individual inclusion while continuing to starve our institutions. It is one of the greatest long games to ensure that a group of people have no institutional representation of their own nor control of that which is fed into their minds. Harvard University should pay if they truly believe in righting history’s wrongs and we would owe them no thank you or gratitude for doing so. Ultimately and without waver we must not be distracted by their shiny illusion of inclusion, but remember that is our duty and responsibility to continue to empower and build upon that which our foreparents started and ensure that our people have a home.

UNPRECEDENTED: MacKenzie Scott Transforms HBCU Endowments With A Flurry Of Million Dollar Gifts In 2020

Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving. – Erma Bombeck

The year of George Floyd’s death and the European American guilt that accompanied it can be argued was the catalyst that led to the largest flurry of million dollar plus donations to HBCUs ever seen and it was led almost solely by one woman – MacKenzie Scott, the quietly known co-founder of Amazon who has emerged as a powerhouse in the world of philanthropy. Of the reported 37 donations of $1 million or more as reported by the Chronicle of Philanthropy to HBCUs, Ms. Scott is responsible for 22 of them. Her donation to Prairie View A&M University was the largest in the school’s history and the largest ever to a public HBCU. Questions of where the money actually ends up and who is managing it given Prairie View’s relationship to Texas A&M are worth investigation by PVAMU alumni. All the same, HBCU endowments began 2020 standing at approximately $2.1 billion combined. 2020’s million dollar plus donations to HBCUs are equivalent to roughly 33 percent of that – in one year. To put in perspective, these donations to HBCUs in 2020 were greater than Howard University’s 150 plus year old endowment and would be the equivalent of someone donating approximately $15 billion to Harvard’s endowment, which Ms. Scott actually could do. Again, unprecedented.

We have expanded our review of the data collected to include more information regarding those major donations to HBCUs as well as their presence in the overall landscape of major donations to all colleges and universities. Are HBCUs getting their share? Although HBCUs make up three percent of the United States higher education ecosystem, they do not tend to receive three percent of the philanthropic donations or value. This year breaks the mold with HBCUs receiving over 11 percent of the major donations and over 15 percent of the major donation value. Unprecedented is putting it mildly. While this infusion is beyond needed and could not come at a better time as many higher education institutions across the country are having real questions of future and long-term fiscal viability, those with well position endowments have far less to worry about in their ability to have the resources necessary to pivot in an ever changing education landscape. Despite this landslide of donations, there are still no HBCUs with a $1 billion endowment or more. Howard University is still leading the way and looking like the inevitable first, but after Howard and Spelman, there are a myriad of questions and concerns as to the endowment health of every other HBCU.

Despite no African American having the wealth to give at the scale of MacKenzie Scott, it still begs the question of where are the African American wealthy in making major donations to HBCUs on a more consistent and sustainable basis. Only 4 of the 37 donations on 2020’s list come from African American families. George Floyd’s death was clearly a catalyst for much of this giving to African American institutions in 2020, but relying on Black death as a means to spur major giving is morally problematic and acutely unsustainable. There is no reason that this list every year is not made up of predominantly African Diaspora and African American households. For reasons that are complex though, that has still yet to happen. It is also worth noting which schools received donations. While the usual suspects of Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Howard University are there, one-third of the donations went to public HBCUs whom rarely find themselves in the philanthropic spotlight. Lesser known, but just as important HBCUs like Claflin University, Lincoln University (PA), and Xavier University (LA) also showed up. A vital need is for the smaller HBCUs to receive major gifts, HBCUs like Texas College, Florida Memorial University, Virginia University at Lynchburg also badly need to receive major gifts to shore up their fiscal futures. African American households must be the one to lead that charge if major giving to HBCUs is to be burning bright tomorrow and not just a firecracker today.

$1 Million Plus Donations To All Colleges: 329

$100 Million Plus Donations To All Colleges: 7

$1 Million Plus Donations Value To All Colleges: $4.7 Billion

$1 Million Plus Median Donation To All Colleges: $6.0 Million

$1 Million Plus Average Donation To All Colleges: $14.4 Million

$1 Million Plus Donations To HBCUs: 37*

$100 Million Plus Donations To HBCUs: 0

$1 Million Plus Donations Value To HBCUs: $716.7 Million

$1 Million Plus Median Donation To HBCUs: $20.0 Million

$1 Million Plus Average Donation To HBCUs: $19.4 Million

HBCU Percentage of Donations To All Colleges: 11.2%

HBCU Percentage of Donation Value To All Colleges: 15.2%

1. MacKenzie Scott (pictured) – $50 million
Recipient: Prairie View A&M University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

2. MacKenzie Scott – $45 million
Recipient: North Carolina A&T State University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

3. Reed Hastings & Patty Quillin  – $40 million
Recipient: Morehouse College
Source of Wealth: Technology

4. Reed Hastings & Patty Quillin – $40 million
Recipient: Spelman College
Source of Wealth: Technology

5. Reed Hastings & Patty Quillin – $40 million
Recipient: United Negro College Fund
Source of Wealth: Technology

6. MacKenzie Scott – $40 million
Recipient: Morgan State University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

7. MacKenzie Scott – $40 million
Recipient: Norfolk State University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

8. MacKenzie Scott – $40 million
Recipient: Howard University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

9. MacKenzie Scott – $30 million
Recipient: Virginia State University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

10. MacKenzie Scott– $30 million
Recipient: Winston-Salem State University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

11. MacKenzie Scott – $30 million
Recipient: Hampton University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

12. MacKenzie Scott – $25 million
Recipient: Alcorn State University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

13. MacKenzie Scott – $25 million
Recipient: Bowie State University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

14. MacKenzie Scott  – $20 million
Recipient: Claflin University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

15. MacKenzie Scott – $20 million
Recipient: Delaware State University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

16. MacKenzie Scott – $20 million
Recipient: Lincoln University (PA)
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

17. MacKenzie Scott – $20 million
Recipient: Tuskegee University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

18. MacKenzie Scott – $20 million
Recipient: Xavier University (Louisiana)
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

19. MacKenzie Scott – $20 million
Recipient: Morehouse College
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

20. MacKenzie Scott – $20 million
Recipient: University of Maryland-Eastern Shore
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

21. MacKenzie Scott – $20 million
Recipient: Spelman College
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

22. MacKenzie Scot– $15 million
Recipient: Clark Atlanta University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

23. MacKenzie Scott – $15 million
Recipient: Elizabeth City State University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

24. Anonymous Donor – $10 million
Recipient: Prairie View A&M University
Source of Wealth: N/A

25. Bruce Karsh and Martha Karsh  – $10 million
Recipient: Howard University
Source of Wealth: Finance

26. Seth Klarman and Beth Klarman – $10 million
Recipient: Spelman College
Source of Wealth: Finance

27. MacKenzie Scott – $6 million
Recipient: Tougaloo College
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

28. MacKenzie Scott – $5 million
Recipient: Dillard University
Source of Wealth: Technology, Retail

29. Oprah Winfrey – $2 million
Recipient: Tennessee State University
Source of Wealth: Media & Entertainment

30. Matthew Cullinan and Anna Reilly – $1.7 million
Recipient: Winston-Salem State University
Source of Wealth: Education

31. Jim Murren and Heather Murren – $1 million
Recipient: Howard University
Source of Wealth: Finance

32. Charles Butt – $1 million
Recipient: Prairie View A&M University
Source of Wealth: Retail

33. Charles Barkley – $1 million
Recipient: Miles College
Source of Wealth: Entertainment

34. Kenneth Chenault and Kathryn Chenault – $1 million
Recipient: Morehouse College
Source of Wealth: Finance

35. Joan Johnson – $1 million
Recipient: Spelman College
Source of Wealth: Retail

36. Frank Baker & Laura Day  – $1 million
Recipient: Spelman College
Source of Wealth: Finance

37. Charles Barkley – $1 million
Recipient: Tuskegee University
Source of Wealth: Entertainment

Source: Chronicle of Philanthropy

*Michael Bloomberg’s pledge of $100 million in 2020 to the 4 HBCU medical schools was not included in our list which was sourced strictly from the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The 2019-2020 SWAC/MEAC Athletic Financial Review

In the fourth HBCU Money report on the SWAC/MEAC’s athletic finances, there has been one trend that is consistent – an acute amount of red on the balance sheet of each respective HBCU as it pertains to their athletic departments and it continues to grow redder and redder. Since HBCU Money first began reporting the SWAC/MEAC Athletic Financial Review, there have been losses of $128.6 million (2014-2015), $147.1 million (2016-2017), $150.7 million (2017-2018), and this year they continue their trend of the athletic black hole with losses over $161 million through athletics with no correction in sight. Not exactly the cash generating juggernauts that HBCU alumni have in mind when it comes to how deeply many believe that athletics can be the financial savior to HBCU financial prosperity. Instead, athletics seems to be potentially at the crux of many HBCU financial woes. Almost unfathomable is that many in the SWAC/MEAC have athletic budgets higher than their research budgets.

The harsh reality is that even with all the popularity buzz generated by Jackson State University’s head football coach, Deion Sanders, the factors working against HBCU athletics ever achieving real profitability remains a pipe dream at best. To land a major television contract, which is the only reason on mass that the SEC and Big 10 are the profitable athletic programs they are requires something that HBCU alumni bases severely lack. Large fan bases that have high incomes and an affluence. The harsh reality that HBCUs have small alumni bases, a reality that has been exacerbated post-desegregation where now HBCUs only get 9 percent of African Americans in college, combined with African America having both the lowest median income and wealth do not make for a recipe for advertisers to pay top dollar to television stations who would then healthily compensate HBCU institutions. HBCU athletics can be profitable, but it requires a completely different business model than our PWI counterparts. See, “The 5 Steps To HBCU Athletic Profitability”.

HBCU athletic revenues went down while expenses and subsidies went up in 2019-2020. That is usually a trend all would prefer be flipped. Students continue to bear the brunt of generating HBCU athletic revenues. This year’s review shows that approximately 73 percent of HBCU athletic revenues are generated through subsidies, up from 70 percent the year prior. Something to consider when 90 percent of HBCU students graduate with student loan debt.

REVENUES (in millions)

Total: $200.4 (down 1.2% from 2017-2018)

Median: $10.3 (down 4.6% from 2017-2018)

Average: $10.6  (up 5.0% from 2017-2018)

Highest revenue: Prairie View A&M University  $18.7 million

Lowest revenue: Coppin State University  $2.8 million

EXPENSES (in millions)

Total: $213.0 (up 0.5% from 2017-2018)

Median: $12.5 (up 15.7% from 2017-2018)

Average: $11.2 (up 5.7% from 2017-2018)

Highest expenses: Prairie View A&M University  $18.7 million

Lowest expenses: Mississippi Valley State University  $3.9 million


Total: $148.4 (up 4.9% from 2017-2018)

Median: $6.4 (down 18.4% from 2017-2018)

Average: $7.1 (unchanged from 2017-2018)

Highest subsidy: Prairie View A&M University $15.5 million

Lowest subsidy: Coppin State University $1.7 million

Highest % of revenues: Delaware State University: 92.0%

Lowest % of revenues: Florida A&M University: 37.0%


Total: $-12.7 million (down 40.0% from 2017-2018)

Median: $0 (up 100.0% from 2017-2018)

Average: $-666,295 (down 46.3% from 2017-2018)

Highest profit/loss: North Carolina A&T State University  $615,094

Lowest profit/loss: North Carolina Central University  $-6,264,082


Total: $-161.0 million (down 6.8% from 2017-2018)

Median: $-9.8 million (down 40.0% from 2017-2018)

Average: $-8.5 million (down 13.3% from 2017-2018)

Highest profit/loss: Mississippi Valley State University  $-2,177,123

Lowest profit/loss: Prairie View A&M University  $-15,417,471

CONCLUSION: At current, it would take an approximately $4.3 billion endowment dedicated to athletics to ween the SWAC/MEAC off of these subsidies onto a sustainable path. A sum greater than all HBCU endowments combined. Perhaps through merchandise sales, Jackson State could see its way to profitability without subsidies. Perhaps, but as former HBCU alumnus and NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe recently said, “There is only one Deion Sanders”. One thing is for certain, HBCUs have not done a proper cost-benefit analysis for the money they spend and subsidize to their athletic departments nor have they explored potential alternative models.

Editor’s Note: Howard and Bethune-Cookman are excluded in this report because they are private institutions and their athletic finances were not included in this report.

Source: USA Today

Internet Services Startup Launched By Three HBCUpreneurs – Who Have Never Met

“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs

It is a business story worthy of Hollywood. Mainly because it seems to be a storyline that you only find in movies. However, the story is very real and very powerful. Not only because of its potential, but also because of the possibilities that it presents. Three HBCUpreneurs from three different HBCUs start a business, but have never actually met each other in person. The power of the internet, the power of Twitter and most importantly, the power of the HBCU community.

The company, HBCU Real Estate, is an internet services company that seeks to help the HBCU community (but not limited too) find and use HBCU real estate service providers. Everything from real estate agents, mortgage brokers, interior designers, and more. The founders hope that it will even lead to business creation in the spaces of real estate that the HBCU community may have little to no presence. HBCU Money is aware of only one title company* owned by an HBCU alumnus. HBCU Real Estate’s mission is to help facilitate circulation of the HBCU community’s dollars and keep them in the HBCU community. If successful, it could potentially keep tens of billions of dollars within the HBCU community. The fact that none of the founders have ever met in person makes what they are trying to accomplish even more astounding.

For two years it sat on the proverbial shelf according to organizer, cofounder, and HBCU Real Estate’s Director of Product Development, William A. Foster, IV, a Livingstone College, Virginia State University, and Prairie View A&M University alumnus. “I am a multipreneur and have learned that more hands and brains on deck is almost always a good thing. I needed to meet and find the right people who could understand, compliment, add value, and who could see the potential just as much as I could. Also, I promised myself no more solo projects. When you are involved in as many businesses and organizations as I am, being able to spread the load is vital to success – and sanity.”

Enter Christen Turner, Spelman College and Southern University alumnus, and Marcus King, an alumnus of Prairie View A&M University, both HBCUpreneurs themselves. Ms. Turner, HBCU Real Estate’s Chief Technology Officer, also owns Janelle T. Designs, a graphic designs firm, as well as Forever Femme, an accessories company. Mr. King, HBCU Real Estate’s Chief Marketing Officer, owns Hardly Home, a clothing line that is catered towards travel that was featured on HBCU Money’s The HBCUpreneur Corner in 2015. What does it say to you (King) about the potential of collaboration for HBCUpreneurs that 5 different HBCUs are represented among the 3 cofounders? King answered, “The motto at my alma maters is that “PV produces productive people” and I think that can be said about HBCUs across the board. For years HBCUs have been producing top talent and should continue to do so as we seek to move forward and provide solutions to the problems our community faces.”

The three have followed each other on Twitter for years, although no one can remember for how long. It was towards the end of 2020 that Foster said he approached Turner and King about doing a collaboration or tweeted at them rather. “I sent out a tweet and tagged both of them saying that I need to cofound something with the two of them. Having watched them over the years I knew we would click and have the same kind of work ethic. I just needed to find out if they thought the idea had any legs. If it was not this, it was going to be something else.” The work ethic was confirmed when he said he got an email from Turner on Thanksgiving while he himself was working. Turner further drove the point home of the potential of the moment, “This business will be successful because of two reasons, respect and trust. Despite not having met in an ‘official’ capacity, our partnership seems to have a natural fit to it; almost like pieces of a puzzle. With William’s intuition, he was able to unknowingly add the right people to his team who would each be able to add something different. Whether from a professional standpoint or specific personality traits, we all came in with an immediate respect for each other’s talents and skills. This is why the business will be successful. There’s no questioning; there’s only action, openness, and honesty.” Usually in Hollywood the movie ends with and they lived happily ever after – The End, but in this case it is clear that this is just The Beginning.

For more information, visit http://www.hbcurealestate.com