Exclusive: Steinbridge CEO Tawan Davis Discusses $100 Million Commitment To Empower HBCUs Through Real Estate Ventures

A Black impact investment firm, the Steinbridge Group is making a $100 million commitment to back the nation's HBCUs through real estate..

The Steinbridge Group is embarking on a significant initiative by committing $100 million in capital to bolster historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) through real estate ventures. This substantial investment will be directed towards forming real estate partnerships with HBCUs, with the primary aim of revitalizing underutilized assets owned by these institutions and other Black organizations. The goal is to develop accessible housing and mixed-use projects within communities connected to the over 100 HBCUs across the nation.

Steinbridge Founding Partner and CEO Tawan Davis shared these details in an exclusive interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE.

A Black-owned impact investment firm, Steinbridge aims to produce a guide to generate value from untapped assets like real estate owned by HBCUs. Davis maintains that while “many of the institutions own large amounts of land, properties, or buildings, they need additional resources, capital, and bandwidth to mobilize them for productive use.”

Steinbridge intends to activate the property assets, creating new income sources for higher education institutions.

According to Davis, his firm envisions that the institutions will retain meaningful ownership of the developments, generate new revenue streams, and bolster long-term financial gain.

 He also spoke about the commitment this week at the ForbesBLK Summit in Atlanta, an event attended by some of the nation’s top Black business leaders.

“This $100 million commitment expands our strategy to meet the housing and other real estate needs of people in rapidly changing communities across the country, while contributing to capital and investment goals of HBCUs and other organizations,” he said.

Earlier this year, Steinbridge announced partnerships and investments with leading financial institutions in its impact strategy, including PNC Bank, an affiliate of Frontrange Capital Partners, and others.

Now, the fresh initiative comes as enrollment at HBCUs is soaring, even though the overall number of students entering college in the U.S. is shrinking. In the South, where most HBCUs are located, they are poised to capitalize on growing migration.

Further, the commitment intends to address the funding disparities HBCUs face, with many receiving 30% less funding and having endowments just one-tenth the size of other universities. Steinbridge is confident the investments will help advance their missions and expand their influence.

Steinbridge’s HBCU investments will prioritize partner ownership. On this end, Davis said that means partner institutions are expected to keep meaningful ownership of the projects and retain the flexibility to be sensitive to student and local needs.

Another goal, revealed Davis, is to ensure that HBCU graduates and staff have the chance to take advantage of homes provided via the partnerships. Steinbridge plans to work with partner HBCUs to make it possible for graduates to become homeowners. That could help build wealth in communities at risk of displacement from the impacts of gentrification in transitioning neighborhoods.

Davis noted “home prices could vary, given the diversity among HBCU institutions. For mixed-used development, the properties may range from dense urban infield developments to expansive greenfield opportunities.”

In general, the developments can include several uses, such as residential, retail, and office space, into one building or area.

Davis added the commitment “is the first move that Steinbridge hopes will be among expanding partnerships with other entities that also have unused land, potentially including local churches, governments, and various non-profits.”

Check out more details about Steinbridge and comments on its new commitment here.

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