Milken Institute Inclusive Capitalism Initiative Celebrates Latest Class of HBCU Fellowship Program, Building on Its Commitment to Develop Pathways of Opportunity for Young Leaders

New partnerships, expanded programming bolsters outcomes and awareness in the financial sector.

The Milken Institute today celebrated the latest class of its Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Fellowship program at its 2024 Global Conference in Los Angeles. The fellowship program, now in its second year, empowers undergraduate students from HBCUs by providing opportunities for professional development, networking, and personal growth in the financial services sector.

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The Milken Institute celebrates the latest class of its Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Fellowship program at the 2024 Global Conference in Los Angeles. (Photo: Business Wire)

The Milken Institute celebrates the latest class of its Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Fellowship program at the 2024 Global Conference in Los Angeles. (Photo: Business Wire)

During a panel discussion, Illuminating Success Stories on HBCU Campuses, leaders discussed the importance of inclusive capitalism, the need for HBCU philanthropic gifts, and explored the innovation on HBCU campuses with HBCU presidents and stakeholders. A special ceremony followed, celebrating twenty recent graduates of the academic portion of the program, who will now be matched with summer internships in the financial sector.

“The Milken Institute is committed to the success of the next generation of finance professionals who will come from racially, geographically, and gender-diverse backgrounds,” said Troy Duffie, director at the Milken Institute and lead for the HBCU Fellowship Program. “Our goal is to connect resources to talent and help build the foundation for the next generation of financial professionals who will create more diverse, inclusive, and efficient capital markets.”

HBCUs are overlooked as a resource for quality talent in the investment industry, despite a decades long history of producing global leaders in financial services. Women- and diverse-owned firms control just 1.4 percent of the more than $82 trillion managed by the US asset management industry.

This year, the Milken Institute HBCU Fellowship Program expanded to include 36 HBCU students representing 13 institutions. The inaugural cohort launched in 2023 had 16 fellows representing nine institutions. The 2024 cohort has grown to 20 additional fellows across 12 institutions. Students compete for selection to the program, which provides an immersive experience designed to bridge the gap between academia and industry and equip participants with the skills, experience and expertise. Each fellow is matched with summer internships, providing invaluable real-world experience into the functioning of the asset management sector.

“The Milken Institute HBCU Fellowship Program has been informative and engaging, ranking among the best I've ever experienced,” said Takudzwa Modza, a student at Alabama State University. “The opportunity to participate in programs, events and classes has provided in-depth insights into the world of finance where I have learned more about asset management, venture capital, and private equity. I’m looking forward to this next phase of the program and an internship that will help me gain hands-on experience in the financial sector.”

The HBCU Fellowship Program is part of the Milken Institute’s broader Inclusive Capitalism Initiative focused on increasing diversity and representation in the financial sector. Its work includes a newly released study, Seven Strategies for Specific Action in Asset Management, which featured actionable steps that can significantly impact the industry and emphasized the power of recruiting from diverse educational institutions and the importance of implementing long-term mentorship programs. The proposed actions detailed in the report aim to increase diversity, capture unrealized value, and mitigate long-term risks within the asset management sector.

During the graduation ceremony, it was announced that the T.D. Jakes Foundation in collaboration with Wells Fargo is providing underwriting support for the upcoming 2024/2025 HBCU Fellows class.

“Innovation thrives in unity; together we can disrupt inequality, and forge pathways to inclusive prosperity. Impactful partnerships allow us to catalyze change, and build an equitable future for all,” remarked T.D. Jakes, Founder and Chairman of the T.D. Jakes Foundation. “A future where everyone regardless of background, has the chance to thrive, is possible. Inclusive initiatives like this with the Milken Institute and Wells Fargo are crucial to unlocking the immense potential within HBCUs and transforming communities across the nation.”

“We are thrilled to support the Milken Institute HBCU Fellows program to help connect more students with career opportunities and advance diversity in the financial sector,” said Darlene Goins, head of philanthropy and community impact at Wells Fargo. “This work directly reflects Wells Fargo’s commitment to increasing pathways to economic opportunity and generational wealth for historically marginalized communities.”

Additional program funders and in-kind partners include the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Viable EDU, ADISA, The World Bank, SIFMA, Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, HarbourView Equity, and the CAIA Association. To learn more about this program and how to be a supporter, click here.

About the Milken Institute

The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank focused on accelerating measurable progress on the path to a meaningful life. With a focus on financial, physical, mental, and environmental health, we bring together the best ideas and innovative resourcing to develop blueprints for tackling some of our most critical global issues through the lens of what’s pressing now and what’s coming next. For more information, visit


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