FFAR Partners with the Kirchner Impact Foundation to Support the Kirchner Food Fellowship – HBCU Cohort

WASHINGTON, DC (May 4, 2021) -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 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 inaugural program is accepting applications until May 15. Application information is available on the Kirchner Food Fellowship website. 

FFAR has supported the Kirchner 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.

 “One of the cornerstones of our organizational mission is to invest in workforce development across every aspect of the food and agriculture industry,” said FFAR’s Executive Director Dr. Sally Rockey. “We are thrilled to continue our partnership supporting the Kirchner Fellowship, this time with a focus on HBCU students to strengthen diversity and inclusion efforts in the agricultural investment sector.”

“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.

Connect: @FoundationFAR | @RockTalking

The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation advances new frontiers of science, data, and innovation to solve global challenges related to health, food, power, and economic mobility. As a science-driven philanthropy focused on building collaborative relationships with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation seeks to inspire and foster large-scale human impact that promotes the well-being of humanity throughout the world by identifying and accelerating breakthrough solutions, ideas, and conversations. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.

Kirchner Food Fellowship
The Kirchner Food Fellowship is a pioneer in the lean investment movement, harnessing the power of highly committed millennial talent to find, fund and assist promising socially responsible, for-profit agricultural businesses to advance Global Food Security. Through the use of a “real world, real time, real money” model the program has proven that it is possible for newly formed investment teams to become effective venture capital allocators in a matter of months. The combination of compressed learning time frames and low operating costs makes it possible to more cost effectively deploy smart and impactful capital in parts of the world were angel capital is needed most, leading some to describe the program as “Peace Corps meets VC”. For more on the program or to apply please visit www.fundthefood.com and our recent AgFunder article.

The Kirchner Food Fellowship is an initiative of The Kirchner Impact Foundation (501 (c) (3)) one of the “returning arms” of Kirchner Group, that focuses on harnessing the positive power of enterprise to make a difference in addressing some of the most important issues of today. www.kirchnerimpact.com

Steve Dauphin | Director |sdauphin@kirchnerimpact.com
Hattie Brown | Director | hbrown@kirchnergroup.com

Kirchner Group
Kirchner Group was founded in 1985 as a boutique firm and today operates various subsidiaries, providing advisory services (M&A, assessments, diligence) and operational support (interim management, workouts, turnarounds) as well as asset management (dedicated, portfolio optimization) – all leveraging a proprietary approach that dovetails domain and process expertise.

Throughout the decades Kirchner Group has been internationally recognized for its unique business model centered around creating value while promoting values: “earning while returning”. The firm has also established a reputation for building and rebuilding important business and social paradigms based on its deep entrepreneurial orientation.

Kirchner Group’s clients and partners include early stage to mid-market companies, venture capital and private equity firms as well as family offices and some of the world’s largest insurance companies, commercial banks and institutional investors. www.kirchnergroup.com

Blair Kirchner | Managing Director & Co-Head of Impact Activities | Kirchner Group | bgkirchner@kirchnergroup.com

Source: Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research