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First black-owned mutual fund secures $200 million to launch ‘project black’

Chicago-based investment firm Ariel Investments has secured $200 million commitment fund from JPMorgan Chase to help in the launching and implementation of ‘project Black’; an initiative with which the firm aims to invest heavily into minority-owned businesses.

Ariel co-CEO Mellody Hobson and global investment manager, founder and former head of Hamilton Lane, Leslie A. Brun have been appointed leaders of this private fund business with potentials to bridge the inter-racial wealth gap.

In a release announcing the fund, Brun stated that, “It is no secret that the racial wealth gap in America continues to widen, day by day….While we have been encouraged and inspired by the supply chain diversity commitments recently made by large corporations, we believe that it is time to accelerate these promises with real, measurable steps. Our work will aim to bring operational excellence, financial resources, minority ownership, and leadership to these companies.”

Commenting on the initiative, Mellody Hobson added that, “through Project Black, we plan to ultimately disperse opportunity throughout underrepresented communities. We want to change the narrative and foster true action and demonstrable change.”

Chicago-based Ariel Investment which is the first black-owned mutual fund firm was founded by John W. Rogers, Jr. in the year 1983; since its formation, the firm has grown to accumulate and manage $15 billion in assets within a period of 38 years.

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