Madame CJ Walker’s Estate Plans to Create a Learning Institute for Women of Color Entrepreneurs

(Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

On the cusp of Madame CJ Walker estate’s 100th anniversary, the Villa Lewaro, has been acquired by Richelieu Dennis to turn into a learning institute for women of color entrepreneurs. Madame CJ Walker is known as the first African American self-made millionaire.  According to Dennis, the Chair of Essence Ventures and the founder of Shea Moisture, stated that “this is a way to foster entrepreneurship for present and future generations.”

The property is 28,000 square feet with 34 rooms located in Irvington, New York and it became a National Historic Landmark in 1976. Dennis, along with the New Voices Foundation has pledged to $100 million to those women of color entrepreneurs.  In a statement Dennis said “to be able to steward something so rich in our culture, history, legacy, and achievement through the New Voices Foundation and guide it into its next phase of impact and inspiration is an incredible honor that my family and I welcome with tremendous responsibility and humility.”