BlackRock Progressing On $1B Fund Focused on People of Color

By David G. Barry

BlackRock is making significant progress toward raising a sizable, innovative fund to invest in businesses and projects owned, led by, or serving people of color.

The investment firm said it has secured more than $800 million for its BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund. Targeted at $1 billion, the multi-alternatives fund will have a particular focus on Black, Latinx and Native American communities in the United States.

BlackRock is seeking to use the debut fund to uncover “compelling” investment opportunities in undercapitalized companies and communities poised for growth. Areas would include housing, financial inclusion, education, healthcare, inclusive transition, and digital connectivity. It will make direct investments across private equity, private credit, infrastructure, real estate and other niche asset classes.

Investors in the fund include PayPal, Lincoln Financial Group, State Farm and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. BlackRock said an array of corporations, pension funds, insurers, endowments, foundations and family offices backed the fund.
Since its launch a year ago, the fund has made three investments, including partnering this month with Eastwood Capital Partners, a Black-owned sponsor, and Retro Fitness to develop up to 70 fitness franchises in the Dallas, Houston and Southeast Florida areas.

The fund also has partnered with BRP Companies, a Black-owned and operated real estate firm to invest in Arboretum, which will be a 292-unit rental community in Farmingville, NY, and invested in Tricolor, a fintech company with a majority-diverse employee base that leverages AI-powered technology to sell and provide financing for high-quality, affordable used vehicles to underserved Latinx customers.

In announcing the fund’s progress, Edwin Conway, global head of BlackRock Alternative Investors, said the aim of the fund is “to change the way institutional capital flows into communities of color” and is “just one step” that BlackRock and its partners are taking “to address this significant investment opportunity.

BlackRock Alternative Investors is BlackRock’s $330 billion private markets platform.