Kirchner Food Fellowship Announces Inaugural HBCU Cohort
The Kirchner Food Fellowship, an initiative of the Kirchner Impact Foundation, announced the fellows for the inaugural Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) cohort. As a pioneering program in developing the next generation of venture capital in food and agriculture, the program launched the dedicated HBCU cohort to help address the lack of diversity within the venture capital sector.
The fellows will be “impact venture capitalists” for an academic year, investing real money in a real company while remaining full-time students at their respective universities. The HBCU cohort will look to invest in an early-stage, minority-owned business in the agriculture and food ecosystem.
The Kirchner Food Fellowship is made possible through the support of the Kirchner Group, a leading values-based traditional merchant bank, partners such as the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research, and donor organizations such as The Rockefeller Foundation and Burroughs-Wellcome Fund, as well as individual donors.
We are so incredibly proud of the candidate pool for this inaugural year of the HBCU cohort. This was a tough decision because of the talent and enthusiasm we saw throughout the application process, but ultimately, this group of fellows emerged as passionate, intellectually curious and hard-working. We know they’re going to have great success at finding an impactful company addressing food security and cannot wait to get started with our collective work.Hattie Brown
Director of the Kirchner Food Fellowship.
The 2021-2022 Kirchner Food Fellowship HBCU Fellows:
Bryana Pittman is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Systems Engineering at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida. She is passionate about bridging the gap between food deserts in the local community, researching innovations in intellectual property and exploring financial markets.
Martin Adu-Boahene is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. He is passionate about investing, entrepreneurship and technology.
“As a Kirchner Food Fellow, I want to help connect founders of agriculture-oriented businesses with the knowledge, advisors, investors and the support they need to thrive,” added Martin Adu-Boahene, 2021-2022 Fellow. “I am thrilled to be a part of this initiative, helping bridge the funding gap for minority-owned businesses solving some of the most pressing challenges in the food and agriculture sector.”
Kwame Terra is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health degree in Health Equity at Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana. His studies focus on the association between the local food environment and chronic disease prevalence.
“I’m truly honored to have been selected for the inaugural HBCU cohort and look forward to all the connections I’ll make, the training I’ll receive and the exposure I’ll gain over this coming year,” added Kwame Terra, 2021-2022 Fellow. “When I first received the news that I had been selected, I naturally shared it with my close friends and family. While a few of them were excited for me and recognized the value of the opportunity, most had no idea what a venture capitalist was. Lack of awareness is a huge factor affecting many racial disparities and I believe this program will help address that.”
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 the U.S. Department of Agriculture’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.