BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund Targets $1 Billion to Invest in Communities of Color Across the U.S.
First-of-its-kind multi-alternatives fund has raised more than
Initial investors include Anthem, Costco Wholesale, Johnson Controls,
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Seated (L to R):
Launched in 2021, this return-seeking fund looks to uncover compelling investment opportunities in undercapitalized companies and communities that are poised for growth. It takes a novel approach to social impact by making direct investments across private equity, private credit, infrastructure, real estate, and other niche asset classes – using a wide range of tools seeking to create collective wealth for the businesses and communities in which it invests, and to generate returns for the fund’s investors. The BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund’s investments focus on themes such as housing, financial inclusion, education, healthcare, inclusive transition, and digital connectivity. To date, a broad investor base including leading corporations, pension funds, insurers, endowments, foundations, and family offices have committed to the debut fund.
The fund is led by a dedicated and experienced team of diverse portfolio managers that leverages BlackRock Alternative Investors’
To date, the fund has evaluated a robust pipeline of opportunities and completed three investments:
May 2022, the fund partnered with Eastwood Capital Partners, a Black-owned sponsor, and Retro Fitnessto invest in the development of up to 70 fitness franchises in the Dallas, Houston, and Southeast Floridaareas. The investment seeks to make affordable exercise, health and fitness more accessible to communities of color to help address disparities in social determinants of health. Moreover, most budget gyms in the U.S.fitness industry are demonstrating a robust revenue rebound from 2020 and early 2021 pandemic-lows as pandemic-related restrictions ease.1
February 2022, the fund partnered with BRP Companies, a Black-owned and operated real estate firm with a majority-diverse employee base, to invest in Arboretum, a to-be-built, 292-unit, garden-style rental community located in Farmingville, New York, a multifamily rental constrained market on Long Island. BRP has hired several diverse-owned businesses as vendors on the project and Basis Investment Group, a Black and female-owned commercial real estate investment firm, is acting as the preferred equity investor. This investment enables BRP Companies to expand its business beyond its historical focus of developing urban housing and highlights its strong capabilities and longstanding track record, which includes being New York City’s third most active real estate developer in 2020.2
September 2021, the fund invested in Tricolor, a fintech company with a majority-diverse employee base that leverages proprietary AI-powered technology to sell and provide financing for high-quality, affordable used vehicles to underserved Latinx customers. The U.S.Latinx market is growing at 8.6 percent, faster than Chinaor India, and is equivalent to the eighth largest economy in the world.3 Tricolor is headquartered in Dallas, Texasand operates 50 dealerships across Arizona, California, Nevada, and Texas. The company won the 2021 LendIt Fintech Industry Award for Excellence in Financial Inclusion, and in April became the first consumer auto finance issuer of a social bond. Tricolor is also certified by the U.S. Treasury Departmentas a Community Development Financial Institution(CDFI). CDFIs are institutions focused on expanding economic opportunity in low-income communities by providing access to financial products and services.
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