Breanna Reeves | Black Voice News
The Silicon Valley Community Foundation announced that it has invested two million dollars in the new “Advancement Initiative,” a fund that invests in pre-initial public offering (IPO) startups and donates 50 percent of its carried interest directly to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to create student scholarships and support university endowments.
The Advancement Initiative was created by venture firm Base10 Partners to align the success of technology companies with wealth creation for underrepresented communities.
The initiative starts with a Base10 Growth Fund and leads to Base10 investing in pre-IPO companies and then donating 50 percent of those returns to HBCUs. The expected outcomes are to fund scholarships for minority students, deepen tech diversity and find the next generation of $1B founders, according to Base10.
“We have been thinking about where to focus Base10’s efforts to do more good through strategic investments, and we believe supporting HBCUs is the most effective way for us to augment underrepresented minority talent in Silicon Valley,” said Ade Ajao, co-founder and Managing Partner of Base10.
As the Silicon Valley Community Foundation contributes to the initiative, they join efforts to develop a more diverse workforce among the tech world, and that endeavor begins with supporting HBCUs who historically award nearly half of all science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees to Black students. Yet, all 107 HBCU endowments combined are equal to just seven percent of Stanford University’s endowment. Notably, about one-third of the student population at HBCUs comes from households below the poverty line.
According to an analysis of the 2015-16 School Year by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, HBCUs have $15,000 on average in endowment per student. Comparable, non-HBCUs have $410,000 on average in endowment per student.
“Base10’s unique approach to improving workforce diversity and inclusion through its Advancement Initiative will bolster the endowments of HBCUs and provide more opportunity to deserving students. That, in turn, will build a more diverse workforce over the long term, and give more people equitable opportunities to thrive,” said Nicole Taylor, President and CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Base10 to help realize that goal.”
The Silicon Valley Community Foundation was established in 2007 and is the largest community foundation in the U.S. Taylor earned the role of CEO in 2018 and has since worked to restore the organization’s focus on how to serve the communities of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s investment is being made from its own endowment, which currently commits $132 million to diverse managers. This investment reinforces the community foundation’s work prioritizing racial equity, which includes other initiatives committed to diversity and inclusion—such as the California Black Freedom Fund, a $100 million initiative to support capacity building for Black-led organizations in the state over the next five years.
“In Silicon Valley, workforce diversity, equity and inclusion are serious structural challenges that must be addressed. At Silicon Valley Community Foundation, we believe that we build stronger communities by investing in leaders of color and their organizations,” said Taylor.
Breanna Reeves is a reporter in Riverside, California, and uses data-driven reporting to cover issues that impact the lives of Black Californians. Breanna joins Black Voice News as a Report for America Corps member. Previously, Breanna reported on activism and social inequality in San Francisco and Los Angeles, her hometown.