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Kresge invests millions into Reinvestment Fund’s HBCU Brilliance Initiative

Education, Social Investment Practice

Reinvestment Fund’s HBCU Brilliance Initiative received an investment of $4.25 million from The Kresge Foundation that will support critical investments in the facilities, financial health and the overall growth of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country.

The HBCU Brilliance Initiative was created and designed in recognition of the rich legacy and invaluable contributions HBCUs and their alumni have made to the American education system and society at large.

“As an HBCU alumnus, I am proud of the work Reinvestment Fund and the HBCU Brilliance Initiative has already done to provide HBCUs with an increase in financial stability now, to achieve the long-term growth they desire,” said Damien Wilson, Senior Director of the HBCU Brilliance Initiative. “I thank Kresge Foundation for their investment, which will help us provide these historic institutions with an important source of fiscal capital.”

Kresge’s Education Program and Social Investment Practice selected Reinvestment Fund’s HBCU Brilliance Initiative for investment because it prescribes the technical and financial support that addresses the full range of HBCUs’ challenges. Its contributions to the initiative include a $3.5 million program-related investment loan and a $750,000 grant.

“Reinvestment Fund is a relationship-based lender with experience working on capacity building with HBCUs, which makes them particularly adept at leading this work,” said Erika Brice, Social Investment Officer of the Kresge Foundation. “But due to chronic underfunding, we need more CDFIs to step into investing in these critical community partners. The HBCU Brilliance Initiative is an excellent model for how other CDFIS can make reoccurring and ongoing investments in HBCUs.”

Since 2018, Reinvestment Fund has loaned nearly $35 million to HBCUs to support the financial health of these institutions and fund capital projects. The Brilliance Initiative is structured to resource HBCUs with knowledge, loan capital and credit enhancement, while building the capacity of HBCUs to attract and retain permanent assets that promote sustainable institutional prosperity. The Brilliance Initiative also aims to help HBCUs build their networks, policy advocacy and research to enhance the relationship between HBCUs and the communities in which they reside.

About the HBCU Brilliance Initiative

The HBCU Brilliance Initiative is a multifaceted effort dedicated to recognizing and fostering excellence within HBCUs nationwide. Through strategic partnerships, innovative programs, and targeted resources, the initiative seeks to amplify the impact of HBCUs in shaping the next generation of leaders, innovators, and changemakers. We have a deeply rooted belief that HBCUs are invaluable institutions that have played a critical role in shaping the academic, cultural, and social fabric of our society. By focusing on providing targeted financial support, we aim to elevate HBCUs to new heights, enabling them to continue their legacy of producing exceptional leaders, scholars, and changemakers who positively impact their communities and the world. 

About Reinvestment Fund

Reinvestment Fund is a mission-driven financial institution committed to making communities work for all people. We bring financial and analytical tools to partnerships that work to ensure that people in communities across the country have the opportunities they strive for: affordable places to live, access to nutritious food and health care, schools where their children can flourish, and strong, local businesses that support jobs. We use data to understand markets and how transactions can have the most powerful impact, which has consistently earned us the top Aeris rating of AAA for financial strength and four stars for impact management. Our asset and risk management systems have also earned us an AA- rating from S&P. Since our inception in 1985, Reinvestment Fund has provided over $3.2 billion in financing to strengthen neighborhoods, scale social enterprises, and build resilient communities.  

About The Kresge Foundation

The Kresge Foundation was founded in 1924 to promote human progress. Today, Kresge fulfills that mission by building and strengthening pathways to opportunity for low-income people in America’s cities, seeking to dismantle structural and systemic barriers to equality and justice. Using a full array of grant, loan, and other investment tools, Kresge invests more than $160 million annually to foster economic and social change. For more information visit