Step One…two years ago, Cedric Bobo, a former executive with the Carlyle Group and one of the most powerful investors on Wall Street, dreamed up the idea of teaching kids about real estate and investing as “…a way to get out of the ‘hood’…a way to get out of poverty.“ That way out of the hood and out of poverty turned into Project Destined.
Step Two…luck and timing brought together Bobo and Alex Rodriguez aka A-Rod for the first time at a Jennifer Lopez concert. Bobo told A-Rod about Project Destined and, since A-Rod now runs his own real estate and development firm, A-Rod Corporation, A-Rod said, “I’m in.”
Step Three…A-Rod and Bobo went back stage after the concert, told JoLo about Project Destined and JoLo said, “I’m in.”
Step Four…high school students in Detroit and 50 teens from three high schools in the Bronx as well as City College of New York are learning real estate lingo, learning how to value and finance apartment buildings, learning about cap rates and due diligence and learning how to talk to a lawyer, banker and broker. Plus, these students are having the opportunity to share in real profits from properties.
Step Five…A-Rod and JoLo are making it possible for Project Destined students to participate in boot camps on teams with Harvard Business School mentors to develop “shark tank” presentations for properties, write offer letters, explain strategies to finance projects and teach inner city kids “…to,” as JoLo says, “actually own something at a very early age.”
Step Six…taking Project Destined nationwide so that, again from JoLo, “…kids everywhere can learn that it’s not just about owning your life or owning property…it’s about learning how to manage everything about your live.”
Jonathan Gray, the president and CEO of Project Destined and former head of Blackstone’s global real estate division, said, “ What you need is people on the ground, in the community, real estate people who say ‘I want to take some time to educate some kids and give them some opportunities.’
“ As Bobo says,” Gray continued, “real estate is tangible. A lot of these kids have grown up in households where they’ve seen their parents lose their homes so real estate plays an ever-present part in their lives. And Bobo thinks real estate is easy for kids to understand. His philosophy in life is to help kids be a part of their neighborhood’s change…Bobo, A-Rod, JoLo and I don’t want kids just to be watching.”
One Project Destined student summed up the intentions and the in-process results of this real estate and investing project. “They took us as we were. They showed us how to learn math correctly. The best, the important thing is that anybody can do it.”