The HBCU Community Development Action Coalition based in Miami, Florida, promotes, supports, and advocates for historically Black colleges and minority serving institutions, community development corporations, and the community economic development industry. The coalition’s goal is to create wealth, build healthy and sustainable communities, and achieve lasting economic viability.
The coalition has recently partnered with Renaissance Equity Partners of Washington, D.C., to form an Opportunity Fund to foster investment in neighborhoods surrounding historically Black colleges and universities. The Renaissance HBCU Opportunity Fund aims to attract investment capital to help fund development of mixed-use projects on or near HBCU campuses in federally designated Opportunity Zones. The fund has also been selected to receive support from the Kresge and Rockefeller Foundations.
The initiative will focus on mixed-use projects that will attract business and create workforce housing opportunities targeted to junior faculty, staff, graduate students, and military veterans with GI Bill benefits. The fund is particularly interested in mixed-use projects that will attract supermarkets to food deserts designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as health care facilities to medically underserved communities designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The fund also intends to structure each investment transaction in such a way that will allow the neighboring HBCU to share in the financial success of the project.
Ron Butler, chief executive officer of the HBCU Community Development Action Coalition, stated that “this is an opportunity to position HBCU communities as investment hubs that will ultimately create jobs, stimulate small business activity, and create better economic opportunities within these communities.”