New Jersey Institute of Technology, thanks to the single-largest donation in school history, will launch two new education and research centers — one focused on real estate and the other on entrepreneurship — through the historic gift from the Paul V. Profeta Foundation.
The undisclosed donation will establish the Paul V. Profeta Foundation Real Estate Technology, Design and Innovation Center and the Paul V. Profeta Foundation Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Efforts already are underway to develop the centers, build degree and certificate programs and renovate the physical facilities in preparation for a summer launch. A formal opening ceremony is expected to take place in the fall.
Profeta, a real estate investor and developer with commercial properties across the country, also is well known as an educator and a philanthropist — one especially focused on revitalizing Newark. Profeta said he was thrilled to find another way to give back.
“I am proud to partner with NJIT to create an educational hub in Newark dedicated to the future of real estate,” he said. “Helping students who might otherwise not have the opportunity to be innovators in the field that has given me so much, in the city that is so close to my heart, is very gratifying.
“I look forward to seeing the new centers thrive as a place for entrepreneurs to drive innovation and renewal.”
NJIT President Joel Bloom said the school was beyond grateful for the gift.
“NJIT is honored to accept this gift and thanks Paul Profeta for all he has done and will continue to do for our university,” he said. “His steadfast support of innovation and entrepreneurship, at NJIT and throughout Newark, is a radiant example of generosity and giving with purpose.”
Here’s a closer look at both centers:
The Profeta Real Estate Technology, Design and Innovation Center
Housed in NJIT’s Martin Tuchman School of Management, the Profeta Real Estate Center will serve as the hub of teaching, training and research related to the disruptive technologies, innovation and novel design and construction techniques that are actively transforming the real estate field.
Drawing on the multidisciplinary expertise from faculty across the entire university, the Profeta Real Estate Center will establish new undergraduate, graduate and MBA programs, provide certificate and noncredit training, organize and host conferences, symposia and workshops, and conduct cutting-edge research related to the changing ways in which real estate is built, traded, used and managed.
The Profeta Real Estate Center’s transdisciplinary research activities will focus on the use of technology, new ways of design and construction, and innovative business models in real estate, with a special focus on the application of information technology and platform economics to real estate markets — also known as property technology, or “PropTech.”
Tuchman School Dean Oya Tukel said the timing of the center is perfect.
“Global real estate is a more valuable asset class than all stocks, shares and bonds combined,” she said. “We are excited to be on the cutting edge of this market, producing the world’s future real estate entrepreneurs and innovators.”
The center will be headed by the Profeta Chair of Real Estate Technology, Design and Innovation.
NJIT Provost and Senior Executive Vice President Fadi Deek said the impact of the Profeta Real Estate Center will be significant.
“This extraordinarily generous gift will transform how real estate is taught, learned and researched by incorporating novel and creative methods and technologies based in STEM education,” he said.
The Profeta Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The Profeta Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will be housed on NJIT’s campus at 211 Warren St. The renamed building will provide a platform for university and community entrepreneurial activities.
The center will serve as a hub for Newark-focused entrepreneurship initiatives, including the launch of the Newark Startup Studio at VentureLink.
The startup studio will cultivate and nurture historically underserved entrepreneurs from the greater Newark community, especially women and those from racial and ethnic minority groups, and help them develop and launch sustainable new companies driven by NJIT-generated intellectual property.
The Profeta Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will host networking and mentoring programs, training workshops and conferences for students, faculty and other prospective entrepreneurs.
In addition, the Profeta Foundation — through the center — will augment NJIT’s existing and robust efforts in this area by establishing and endowing the Paul V. Profeta Foundation Inc. Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellowship.
The fellowship will provide:
- Scholarships for undergraduates majoring in business and pursuing a concentration or minor in “Innovation and Entrepreneurship”;
- Summer stipends that enable recipients to serve as interns with one of NJIT’s hands-on, entrepreneurship-focused centers;
- Subsidies for the students chosen to serve as Profeta Fellows to participate in national and regional training programs, workshops and conferences related to entrepreneurship.
The two new centers at NJIT are just the latest examples of Profeta’s philanthropic efforts.
In 2008, Profeta created the Profeta Urban Investment Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not for profit that provides seed capital for startup minority owned commercial ventures in Newark and funded the creation of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Rutgers Business School to work in conjunction with his foundation. The foundation has launched 15 businesses and created approximately 450 jobs.
The Profeta Urban Investment Foundation also provided startup funding for the Intersect Fund, which has made more than 3,000 microloans to minority small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Profeta funded Rutgers Law Associates, a program run by Dean Andrew Rothman of Rutgers Law School, which has recent graduates of the Law School help ex-convicts and gang members to integrate back into society by getting old warrants that are no longer valid removed from their records.
The Profeta Real Estate Center at NJIT will be the third real estate center Profeta has created. The first was at Columbia Business School in New York City in 1980, the second was the Rutgers Center for Real Estate in Newark, where he funded the Paul V. Profeta Chair of Real Estate.
Profeta also founded and publishes Real Estate New Jersey, the only magazine devoted solely to commercial real estate in New Jersey.