This Opportunity Fund Will Invest $1 Billion in Communities of Color Across the U.S.

Opportunity Fund BELatina Latinx
Image courtesy of BlackRock.

We start the week with good news. BlackRock’s Impact Opportunity Fund has announced that it intends to invest $1 billion in communities of color across the United States.

As reported by the Good Men Project, BlackRock is the first multi-alternative fund of its kind and has raised more than $800 million to date to invest in companies and projects owned or led by Black, Latinx, and Native American communities.

“Black, Latinx, and Native American people face a number of systemic barriers in accessing the market and acquiring the capital necessary to drive economic growth and wealth creation in their communities,” said Edwin Conway, Global Head of BlackRock Alternative Investors. “The BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund aspires to change the way institutional capital flows to communities of color and is just one step BlackRock is taking with our clients and partners to address this significant investment opportunity.”

Launched in 2021, this return-seeking fund seeks to uncover attractive investment opportunities in undercapitalized companies and communities poised for growth.

BlackRock’s approach is novel, exploring social impact through direct investments across private equity, private credit, infrastructure, real estate, and other niche asset classes.

The BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund’s investments focus on housing, financial inclusion, education, healthcare, inclusive transition, and digital connectivity. To date, a broad base of investors, including leading corporations, pension funds, insurers, endowments, foundations, and family offices, have committed to the debut fund.

For example, in May 2022, the fund partnered with Eastwood Capital Partners, a black-owned sponsor, and Retro Fitness to invest in the development of up to 70 fitness franchises in the Dallas, Houston, and southeast Florida areas. The investment is intended to make exercise, health, and fitness more accessible to communities of color to help address disparities in the social determinants of health.

Similarly, in February 2022, the fund partnered with BRP Companies, a black-owned and managed real estate company with a majority-diverse employee base, to invest in Arboretum, a 292-unit garden-style rental community to be built in Farmingville, New York, a constrained multifamily rental market on Long Island.

“To create collective wealth for these communities and our clients, we combine our singular impact objective – to improve economic outcomes for undercapitalized communities of color – with a flexible, multi-alternative investment approach,” said Pam Chan, Chief Investment Officer and Global Head of BlackRock’s Alternative Solutions Group. “In doing so, we seek to deliver differentiated returns alongside impact and show that investors can do well and do good.”

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