Building and "Buying" to Fuel Its Growth

Thurgood Marshall College Fund's Merger With Opportunity Funding Corporation is First Step in New Growth Strategy

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| Source: Thurgood Marshall College Fund

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As part of its continuing business expansion, the new merger with Opportunity Funding Corporation (OFC) allows the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) to lead the HBCU community in innovation and entrepreneurship by developing the next generation of African- American entrepreneurs for the 21st century. The merger took place today, having been approved by the board of directors of both organizations, TMCF President and CEO, Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. announced.

For the past 26 years, TMCF has focused its efforts in preparing leaders of tomorrow by placing recent graduates of the country's public Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) in good jobs with some of the world's largest and most well-known employers. By combining resources with OFC, students at TMCF's member-schools will now have access to opportunities that they will not get from other organizations.

"Entrepreneurs are key to the American enterprise and TMCF will now ensure the HBCU community does its part to guarantee that there is a talented and diverse pipeline of future entrepreneurs," said Taylor. "The announcement of the TMCF-OFC merger is a very special moment for TMCF because it represents a natural evolution of our business model from that of a purely scholarship granting organization to a business-creating and job-producing one."

In an unprecedented move in 1970, Donald Rumsfeld, in his role as the head of the Office of Economic Opportunity, convinced President Richard Nixon and his colleagues in the Republican Party to fund the Opportunity Funding Corporation, a first-of-its-kind entrepreneurial concept aimed at creating successful black-owned businesses to spur economic development in black communities across the country. OFC's success was built on identifying promising business opportunities, and assisting those businesses with capital, credit guarantees and business coaching and mentoring. Since its inception, OFC has played a significant role in incubating companies by serving as the financing vehicle for hundreds of minority entrepreneurs, like BET Founder Bob Johnson and Radio One Founder Cathy Hughes, who have successfully launched nationwide minority business enterprises. 

"For over four decades, OFC has had a significant impact in helping to close the African-American entrepreneurship gap," said, OFC Chairman William E. Cox. "Since 2000, OFC worked closely with HBCUs to include entrepreneurship in their business administration curriculum, so this merger with TMCF is a perfect match to reaching more students and preparing them to become entrepreneurs." 

With OFC becoming a division of TMCF, students at TMCF's member-schools will now have access to opportunities they will not get from other higher education organizations. As part of the organization's new strategy, TMCF has been actively seeking new partnerships and initiatives to extend its depth and breadth in higher education. Building new partnerships has always been the approach in the past, but TMCF is now looking at new innovative options to grow. This merger is only the first and not the last, as TMCF takes on this new entrepreneurial spirit. 

"For TMCF, the importance of innovation is vital to our nation," said Jim Clifton, CEO of GALLUP and Chairman of the TMCF Board of Directors. "Student entrepreneurship is on the rise and becoming more important for our economy and this merger provides a platform to creating the next great entrepreneurs."

"The Thurgood Marshall College Fund knows the HBCU community, and like many other organizations in the higher education space, TMCF is facing 21st century demands far different than what we've seen in the past," said Lt. General Arthur Gregg, Chairman Emeritus of the OFC Board of Directors. "Merging OFC and TMCF will allow the work we started over 40 years ago to continue and expand beyond our wildest dreams."

About the Thurgood Marshall College Fund

Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is named for the U.S. Supreme Court's first African-American Justice. Established in 1987, TMCF supports and represents nearly 300,000 students attending its 47 member-schools that include public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), medical schools and law schools. TMCF helps students with a clear intention and the motivation to succeed and acquire a high-quality college education at an affordable cost. TMCF also efficiently connects high performing, world-ready students with top tier employment opportunities —access that students or employers might not have on their own. Through its scholarships and programs, TMCF plays a key role in preparing the leaders of tomorrow.

TMCF is a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization and for more information about TMCF and its initiatives, visit www.ThurgoodMarshallCollegeFund.org.

Tangie Newborn

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