Press Release - May 27, 2021

Silicon Valley Community Foundation Announces Investment In Fund Aimed at Supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities

$250 million “Advancement Initiative” fund aims to support more than 100,000 students

May 27, 2021, Mountain View, Calif.  — Today, Silicon Valley Community Foundation announced that it has invested $2 million in the new “Advancement Initiative,” a fund that invests in pre-IPO startups and donates 50% of its carried interest directly to Historically Black Colleges & 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.

“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. 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.”

Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s investment is being made from its own endowment, which currently commits $132 million to diverse managers. This investment augments the community foundation’s work prioritizing racial equity, which includes a number of 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.

More than a third of Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s endowment is currently being managed by diverse managers, with 10.5% managed by Black-owned investment firms.

“We believe it is essential to consider racial and gender diversity and inclusion factors in our investment management,” Taylor said. “Not only do consideration of these factors enhance returns and reduce risk, but they strongly align with our donors’ values.”

Historically Black Universities and Colleges confer nearly half of all STEM degrees for Black students, yet all 107 HBCU endowments combined are equal to just 7% of Stanford University’s endowment. Importantly, about one-third of the student population at HBCUs comes from households under the poverty line.

According to 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, demonstrating the comparative disadvantage of HBCU endowments.

“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.

Silicon Valley Community Foundation is committed to supporting policies and solutions that eliminate the systemic injustices that block access to opportunity. For racial justice resources and guides to supporting local organizations working in this space, visit the community foundation’s Racial Equity and Social Justice webpage. In addition, learn more about its Movement- and Power-Building Fund, which works to advance equitable policies that drive systemic change by investing in organizations that are working to build power for those who often do not have a voice in civic life.

To learn more about the Advancement Initiative, visit:


About Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation is a regional catalyst, connector and collaborator. We bring together the resources and skills of donors, business, government and community to solve some of our region’s toughest challenges. We promote philanthropy in our region and support philanthropists to invest with impact. Through advocacy, research, policy and grantmaking, we seek systemic solutions to drive enduring community change. Learn more at