Mellody Hobson Raises $1.45B For Project Black Fund

Mellody Hobson Raises $1.45B For Project Black Fund

This Black woman’s efforts are predicted to greatly impact Black suppliers.

Mellody Hobson’s Ariel Alternatives has raised $1.45 billion for Project Black LP, the inaugural private equity initiative of Ariel Investments.

Reportedly, investors committed between $100 million to $200 million over the fund’s seven-year investment period.

“We are scaling change. In so doing, we will redefine what it means to be a minority-owned business in the United States. We are grateful to our investors who share our mission,” said Hobson, co-founder of Ariel Alternatives and co-CEO and president of Ariel Investments, according to a press statement.

Project Black investors include AmerisourceBergen Corp., Hobson Lucas Family Foundation, Lowe’s Cos. Inc., Synchrony Financial, Walmart Inc., Ballmer Group, and Salesforce Inc.

“We chose to partner with large institutions that are seeking to drive widespread corporate vendor diversity. Our goal is to help close the racial wealth gap by creating minority-owned businesses of scale through access to both capital and customers,” said Leslie A. Brun, co-founder, chairman & CEO of Ariel Alternatives, in a press release.

Future plans for Project Black include working with 6-10 middle-market platform companies with $100 million to $1 billion in revenue, focusing on high-margin sectors that target markets, including healthcare, industrial, media and marketing, outsourcing, manufacturing and packaging, technology, transportation and logistics, and financial and professional services.

Forbes reported these efforts would move S&P companies to spend between $8 billion to $10 billion with Black and Latino suppliers, resulting in a significant increase in jobs for minorities.

Hobson made history last year after becoming part owner of the Denver Broncos. “We are excited to announce that Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO of Ariel Investments, has agreed to join our ownership group. Beyond her role at Ariel, Mellody is an influential leader in corporate and civic organizations across the nation,” owner Rob Walton said in a statement at the time.

Ariel Investments L.L.C. celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.