Ben Carson, Jr., A07

FVLCRUM Funds, Co-founded by Jumbopreneur Ben Carson Jr., Secures $302 Million for Community Impact Private Equity Fund

FVLCRUM Partners, a lower middle market buyout firm focused on addressing the U.S. racial wealth gap, announced the final closing of over $302 million in fund commitments.

The motto of “Do well and do good” motivates many students at Tufts University, whatever their chosen career path may be. Tufts alumnus Ben Carson, Jr., A07, applies this motto everyday at FVLCRUM Funds, a private equity firm he co-founded with a focus on investing capital at scale to address the U.S. racial wealth gap. FVLCRUM recently held its final close on its debut $250 million fund, and was oversubscribed to the original target, securing over $302 million in fund commitments.

Speaking to the latest round of funding, Ben Carson Jr., Partner at FVLCRUM, shared, “We are pleased with our success in the fundraising period and remain committed to the same degree of focus as we execute on our investment and impact strategy. We appreciate the strong support of the Tufts community and are grateful for the confidence both in our team and our mission.”

The FVLCRUM strategy provides a novel approach to building sustainable ecosystems of opportunity for underserved communities while generating non-concessionary returns for investors.  Due to the intentional nature of the strategy, the fund has been recognized as a Public Welfare Initiative and qualifies for Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) credit for banking institutions. This puts FVLCRUM in the rare position of being a private equity firm that is also a Volker-exempt CRA-qualified Public Welfare Initiative. FVLCRUM is driven by a mission to align critical social impact initiatives with proven investing fundamentals in order to create new sources of generational wealth for minority executives and sustainable economic growth for underserved communities.

FVLCRUM solves key problems for businesses in diverse markets–namely access to capital, access to networks, and market sophistication. The Firm identifies well positioned companies in healthcare, business services, and government contracting and pairs those companies with proven diverse or minority executive teams, FVLCRUM strives to build well-capitalized, of-scale, best-in-class enterprises that are also minority-owned.  FVLCRUM’s impact team develops community-centric impact plans for each portfolio company in such a way that the impact becomes core to the future of the business plan, ensuring both sustainable growth and impact over time. As co-founder Ben Carson Jr. puts it, they’re “fundamentally incorporating a diverse perspective into the foundation of the business.”

FVLCRUM achieves this through solutions that require a certain degree of insight into the community each business serves. For example, in 2014 an investment was made in Parking Management Company (PMC), a small valet parking company initially operating in Tennessee with about 150 employees. By implementing workforce development programs in underserved communities, the company was able to provide returning citizens and at-risk youth the opportunity to gain important professional skills. In turn, the company developed a unique pipeline or talent, ensuring a more sustainable workforce. This solution spurred economic growth in underserved communities and made that impact inseparable from the success and longevity of the business.  Today, PMC is a nationwide valet services and parking solutions business operating in over 100 cities with over 4,000 employees.

Ben, and FVLCRUM as a whole, are largely driven by foundational lessons he learned at Tufts. Ben took courses in Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies (now the Entrepreneurship Minor from the Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts), during which he discovered his passion for the financial side of business. Outside of the classroom, Ben also befriended the owner of a Danish pastry shop just off campus. Although he couldn’t afford the pastries himself, the owner would share the day’s leftovers with him as they chatted. Ben shared his experiences in his ELS courses with her, and she spoke about her husband’s work in mergers and acquisitions. These conversations combined with his lessons in entrepreneurial leadership set Ben down the path he follows today.

Ben isn’t the only Tufts alum at FVLCRUM, either. Rebecca Bendetson, A13 and Associate at FVLCRUM, and Levi Kirkland, A13 and Senior Associate at FVLCRUM, are also “doing well while doing good” at the firm. For other Tufts students hoping to make an impact on the world, Ben offers the same advice one of his mentors shared with him: “Number one: know your craft and be the best at what you do. Number two: make good friends. And number three: always remain humble.”

In addition to his work at FVLCRUM, Ben has also served as a Board Member for the Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts since 2018 and is a member of the Tufts President’s Council. To learn more about academic and co-curricular opportunities in entrepreneurship at Tufts, visit the Derby Entrepreneurship Center’s website.