Over the past three years, a group of investors has quietly donated $10 million to enable nine historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to invest in their venture capital firms.

The Historic Fund is a unique effort to provide access to — and potential financial returns from — venture capital to HBCUs by tackling a fundamental challenge: their lack of capital to invest.

Unlike many of their predominantly white peers, HBCUs have been largely absent as limited partners in VC funds. They also have much smaller endowments. None approach the $1 billion mark, while 136 predominantly white institutions do (and 69 have at least $2 billion), per an HBCU Money analysis of 2022 data from the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO).

FirstMark is participating in The Historic Fund alongside Acrew Capital, B Capital, Cowboy Ventures, First Round Capital, Foundry, General Catalyst, Spark Capital, Union Square Ventures, and First Close Partners.

Participating HBCUs include Benedict College, Bennett College, Fisk University, Florida A&M University, Hampton University, Morehouse College, Virginia State University, Virginia Union University and Xavier University of Louisiana.

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