To advance professional development opportunities in food and agriculture venture capital, the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) is providing funds to support the Kirchner Impact Foundation’s program for Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) students. The Rockefeller Foundation has also recently committed to supporting the Kirchner Impact Foundation.
Only a very small percentage of investment professionals in venture capital are people of color. The Kirchner Food Fellowship is launching its inaugural cohort for HBCU students to support the development of future agricultural financiers and build diversity and inclusion in the industry.
While the amount of impact investment capital is increasing rapidly, uniform access to that capital is not. For that to improve, new, low-cost, high-efficiency investment models are needed to push money and business resources out to entrepreneurial teams in remote regions and underserved communities. Assembling, training and empowering diverse investment teams for this purpose is the core mission of the Kirchner Food Fellowship. The program trains university students each year to evaluate investment opportunities and gives them discretion over investment decisions for companies solving critical food and agriculture challenges.
Candidates for this cohort must be graduate or undergraduate students attending an HBCU, self-motivated, intellectually curious and passionate about the power of impact-oriented, for-profit businesses to address global food security challenges. The program is accepting applications until May 15. Application information is available on the Kirchner Food Fellowship website.
FFAR has supported the Kirchner Food Fellowship program since 2018. To date, program alumni represent over 40 institutions, nine countries and gender parity. To highlight outcomes of this workforce development program, alumni have gone on to start their own businesses and to work as investors or in adjacent industries.
“We are excited to leverage our decades of enterprise development expertise to continue to establish public-private partnerships with leading organizations like FFAR,” added Blair G. Kirchner, director of the Kirchner Impact Foundation. “Through partnerships like this we are able to scale our program more rapidly and generate more positive impact across the board by capitalizing on synergies.”
“The Rockefeller Foundation recognizes and supports the important work of Kirchner Impact Foundation in amplifying diverse voices in agriculture venture capital, especially those from HBCUs,” said Roy Steiner, senior vice president of The Rockefeller Foundation’s Food Initiative. “It is our hope that this vital work will help to build more equitable, nourishing and regenerative food systems.”
The Kirchner Food Fellowship is made possible through the support of the Kirchner Group, a leading values-based merchant bank, partners like FFAR and donors like The Rockefeller Foundation as well as individual donors.
Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research
The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement USDA’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.
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