With over $2 billion in assets, it’s surely safe to say that CEO Eugene Profit’s investment management firm is booming. But the entrepreneur wasn’t always bestowed with prosperity.
"I grew up in South Central Los Angeles and we certainly weren't the wealthiest,” Profit told the AFRO during a recent interview. I remember my experiences and I [knew] that I could be more and do more.”
Through his mother’s sacrifices, Profit attended Yale University, where he received a bachelor’s in economics. Shortly thereafter, he embarked on a different path astray from his degree in professional football. He played three seasons with the New England Patriots and two with the Washington Redskins, but a hamstring injury ultimately forced him to retire.
Profit shifted to a career in finance in the ‘90s and worked as a broker with Legg Mason, before starting Profit Investment Management in 1996. He explained that while the initial transition wasn’t easy, he recognized that we would have to work hard to get where he wanted to be.
“You have to start from the bottom, so that was a little bit difficult,” Profit said.”But [just like] in football, I didn't become an NFL player overnight. In starting the firm, I had to work in obscurity for a while and be willing to do anything.”
Now, with over a decade and a half of running the company under his belt, Profit wants to ensure that others with similar backgrounds are given the same opportunity. He donated $200,000 to help jumpstart the Profit Charitable Foundation Fund which helps young minority students in Southern California and the D.C. area pay for university expenses. Additionally, the fund provides assistance to community causes to give youngsters unique opportunities and life experiences they otherwise might not have been exposed to.
Profit also aims to improve financial literacy among African Americans. By partnering with the National Urban League and the Investment Company Institute, he introduced workshops aimed at informing middle-income Blacks about the benefits of long term investing.
"I think the very statistics you see show that the majority of the Black community lags behind in overall wealth,” Profit said. Some of that has to do with something as simple as how you're investing or lack of information. We don't grow up talking about it at the dinner table. By engaging in financial education, you give people the tools to close that differentiation in wealth."
For his work and accomplishments, the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation will present Profit with its notable Reginald F. Lewis Award at their fourth annual Gala Luncheon on June 25.
Grammy and Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx will attend the event, which raises funds to continue the work of the Lewis Museum. The luncheon also aims to honor African-American entrepreneurs who achieved international business success before the age of 50, like the establishment’s late namesake. Other past recipients of the award include hip-hop mogul Sean Comps, entertainment lawyer L. Londell McMillan and real estate mogul R. Donahue Peebles.
"It truly is an honor,” Profit said. “Not only was Reginald Lewis a great example for what he accomplished with TLC Beatrice, but [his widow] Loida has also been able to keep his legacy alive by selecting a pretty good group of recipients for the award to indicate that there are still some of us out there that are making a difference and doing positive things in the African-American community.”
The fourth annual Reginald F. Lewis Gala Luncheon will be held on June 25 at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: www.reginaldflewis.com.