African-American Owned Real Estate Crowdfund Raises $9.6M In 7-Days: ‘Historic IPO’

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Written by Dana Sanchez
In this April 26, 2017 photo, debris remains where a demolished row house once stood in Baltimore on one of many abandoned blocks. Baltimore’s 17,000 vacant houses, many riddled with asbestos and lead paint, that have come to symbolize the deep social divide in the city. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Atlanta real estate mogul, author and sometime-TV commentator Jay Morrison has raised $9.6 million in the first seven days of an initial public offering — the first-ever African American-owned real estate crowdfund.

The Tulsa Real Estate Fund is meant to be a way for working-class people to own shares and equity in a portfolio of real estate assets that will combat gentrification, according to a press release. It’s the first African American-owned Regulation A+ Tier II crowdfund designed to revitalize urban communities across the U.S.

A high school dropout, Morrison was a three-time felon by the time he was 20. He sold crack cocaine in Somerville, N.J. before he turned his life around.

In 2014 he started an online wealth education institute, the Jay Morrison Academy, providing financial literacy. He also launched E-Z Funding, an investment platform providing small business financing for entrepreneurs who faced limits at traditional financial institutions.

Morrison is the bestselling author of “Hip Hop 2 Homeowners: How We Build Wealth in America!”, “Lord of My Land: 5 Steps to Homeownership” and “The Solution: How Africans in America Achieve Unity, Justice and Repair.” He has been a real estate expert on NBC’s Today Show and Open House NYC, appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 and FOX’s Justice with Judge Jeanine. He works with his fiancé, Ernestine Johnson.

The Tulsa Real Estate Fund crowdfund qualified with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Both accredited and non-accredited investors can collectively invest and own real estate projects around the country that are unique, diversified and yield a reasonable rate of return.

Tulsa Real Estate Fund hopes to raise up to $50 million in equity capital in its IPO under Regulation A+ of the Jump Start Our Business Start-Up (JOBS) Act. The IPO officially launched on June 1, 2018, and began taking investments immediately, raising $8 million in its first weekend.

Tulsa Real Estate Fund

The fund is named for the once-thriving Greenwood neighborhood in Tulsa, Okla. that was known as “Black Wall Street” before it was destroyed by an angry white mob In 1921. Hundreds of African Americans were killed in the worst armed race riots in U.S. history. Black Wall Street was resurrected in 1925 and reached its economic peak in 1941, but Jim Crow laws crippled the community and a highway was built over much of the area.

“Historically, non-accredited investors have been left on the sidelines for many investment opportunities such as IPOs and venture capital,” Morrison said in a prepared statement. “Regulation A+ opens the door to these investment opportunities, which will in effect allow Black Wall Street to thrive once again, but in more urban communities around the country.”

The mission of the Tulsa Real Estate Fund is to do comprehensive redevelopment of both people and real estate in key urban areas, allowing socially conscious people and financial institutions to invest in people and real estate in local communities that matter most to them.  Tulsa Real Estate Fund redevelopment projects being considered include single family, multi-family, commercial, and agricultural projects. Other redevelopment projects around the country will be announced in the coming months.

“Tulsa Real Estate Fund is the perfect economic vehicle for the urban community to collectively pool its more than $1.3 trillion in spending power to effectively control and revitalize our neighborhoods,” Morrison said in a prepared statement. “With the current tone in Washington, D.C., urban neighborhoods across the country will not have control of their dollars, real estate or small businesses for the foreseeable future. As a result, urban neighborhoods across the country are being redeveloped by individuals who do not have the best interests of the community in mind, which often leads to the displacement of longtime residents due to increased property values, thus making the cost of housing in our communities unaffordable. We believe Tulsa Real Estate Fund is the solution to this rapidly growing problem.”