New fund honors former Urban Edge CEO

Rebeca Oliveira

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After 33 years of leading non-profit developer Urban Edge, Mossik Hacobian is not getting a gold watch. He’s being publicly insulted and having an equity fund named after him.

The “insults” will be part of a roast and toast—a comedy roast for Hacobian and a toast to Chrystal Kornegay, the new president and CEO of Urban Edge—that will be held May 12 to celebrate the launch of the equity fund.

“Obviously I’m honored. I had asked them to not name anything after me. A lot of people contribute to what Urban Edge does,” Hacobian told the Gazette. “I think Urban Edge is well-provisioned for the next decade under [Kornegay’s] leadership.”

The Mossik Hacobian Innovation Equity Fund will provide resources for Urban Edge to “invest with programatic dollars into transformational kinds of projects and programs,” Urban Edge Chief Development Officer Hillel Korin, told the Gazette. He called it “a transformational investment.”

“It’s not about any particular idea, but an organizational culture of collaboration and entrepreneurship,” Hacobian said.

When a partnership, initiative or program that could lead to real change and benefit to the community presents itself, Urban Edge will have the funds at hand to invest in it right away, not worrying about fund-raising until later.

Urban Edge will expect to see returns on their investments, Korin said—but those returns won’t always be of the monetary variety.

“How we measure returns could be in dollars, or in lives changed, or in perceptions changed,” Korin added.

“Like any other kind of investment, we could both make money or lose money on the investment. What we’re looking to do with the fund is to find a community-changing opportunity,” he said.

The goal is to create an equity fund in the amount of $330,000— $10,000 for each year of Hacobian’s service at Urban Edge.

The fund will not be spent down, Korin said. There are several strategies to maintain the fund’s size, among them seeking future new donors and reinvesting any interest earned. Urban Edge’s finance committee will manage the fund, Korin said.

Urban Edge has not yet established a process and specific guidelines for accepting and reviewing proposals for funds.

A roast is a comedy tradition where the honoree—in this case, Hacobian—is subjected to public insults, anecdotes and jokes. It is understood that anything said at a roast is meant in jest.

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