Investing in the future

Mimi B. and William “Bill” H. Vanderstraaten ’82The Cox School of Business’ Folsom Institute for Real Estate has launched a dynamic new fund to spur innovative investment, offer hands-on investing opportunities and make a positive impact in underserved communities throughout the state of Texas. The Cox Real Estate Impact Investment Fund is made possible by several SMU donors, including a $1 million lead gift from Mimi B. and William “Bill” H. Vanderstraaten ’82 (right).

“The Cox Real Estate Impact Investment Fund has the potential to not only impact students in their education and research but also establish a foundation of knowledge and experience that will support them in their personal and professional lives after graduation,” said Bill Vanderstraaten, president and co-founder of the real estate investment company Chief Partners LP.

The backbone of the student-managed fund will be a year-long, joint BBA/MBA course that will provide an experiential learning opportunity for students in its direct focus on the fundamentals of private equity investing and investment management. Through the fund, the course will seek to:

  • Strengthen SMU’s presence in the community through geographically focused impact investments.
  • Fuel SMU’s growing relationship among the wider Dallas and North Texas communities.
  • Empower development and community outreach through diverse investment initiatives.
  • Collaborate with the George W. Bush Institute to measure the social impact of the fund’s investments.
  • Increase opportunities for interdisciplinary engagement and learning across campus.

The fund will target the creation of a blended investment portfolio based on both financial and impact-centered metrics, including investing in underserved and overlooked neighborhoods. Returns from the fund will be split equally between future support of the fund’s diverse investments and a new scholarship program to benefit real estate-focused students at the Cox School of Business.

“This fund will allow students to achieve hands-on learning in the constantly shifting real estate markets of DFW and North Texas,” said Joseph Cahoon, Cox School professor and director of the Folsom Institute for Real Estate. “It will also enable us to create opportunities for future generations of students by providing scholarships powered by the fund’s investments.”