Investment giant BlackRock announced today it has raised over $800 million for the BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund, which invests in businesses and projects owned, led by, or serving people of color, with a focus on Black, Latinx and Native American communities in the U.S. BlackRock stated that it targeting $1 billion for the fund.
Launched in 2021, the fund seeks to invest in undercapitalized businesses and communities. It makes direct investments across private equity, private credit, infrastructure, real estate, and other asset classes, focused on themes such as housing, financial inclusion, education, healthcare, inclusive transition, and digital connectivity.
Edwin Conway, Global Head of BlackRock Alternative Investors, said:
“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. 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.”
To date, the fund has completed three investments, the most recent one through a partnership with Eastwood Capital Partners, a Black-owned sponsor, and Retro Fitness for the development of fitness franchises. In February, the fund also partnered with BRP Companies, a Black-owned real estate firm for an investment in a rental community, and in September 2021, the fund invested in Tricolor, a fintech company with a majority-diverse employee base.
Pam Chan, Chief Investment Officer and Global Head of BlackRock’s Alternative Solutions Group said:
“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. In doing so, we seek to deliver differentiated returns alongside impact and show that investors can do well and do good.”
BlackRock said that the fund has attracted a broad investor base encompassing corporations, pension funds, insurers, endowments, foundations, and family offices. Investors in the fund include Anthem, Costco Wholesale, Johnson Controls, Lincoln Financial Group, PayPal, State Farm, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Douglas McNeely, Head of BlackRock’s Strategic Client Coverage Group, said:
“Through this fund, we are harnessing the power of the BlackRock platform and the active partnership of our clients to identify strong investment opportunities that align with our clients’ and partners’ ethos.”