SoLa Impact, a top Black-led housing developer based in Los Angeles, has announced a $50 million investment from the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), with Belay Investment into its Black Impact Fund.
The $50 million investment in the Black Impact Fund represents part of its second close, which included investments from PayPal, Equitable Insurance, and the Skoll Foundation, Martin Muoto, CEO of SoLa Impact, told BLACK ENTERPRISE.
Altogether, banks, institutional investors, and senior partners of some of the nation’s premier private equity firms have invested a combined $250 million into the Black Impact Fund since it launched in January 2021. The fund plans to formally close once it reaches its $300 million target. Muoto expects that to happen by June 2022.
CalSTRS calls itself the world’s largest educator-only pension fund – and the nation’s second-largest pension fund – with $319.8 billion in assets under management as of Jan. 31, 2022, per its website.
“We are thrilled that institutional investors such as CalSTRS are paying attention to the need to diversify fund managers and invest in historically neglected communities,” Muoto says.
Started in 2012, SoLa Impact focuses on offering market returns to investors while modernizing historically tough urban areas in America, BLACK ENTERPRISE reported. Muoto launched it after realizing a void of housing in Los Angeles for hardworking people who wanted to have safe and decent places to live. He achieved that by finding private capital investors willing to make such an investment in the neighborhoods.
To date, SoLa Impact says its invested in the development of over 3,000 multi-family, affordable and workforce housing units mainly in Los Angeles and southern California. The Black Impact Fund will provide similar housing in various market nationally. It includes an Opportunity Zone fund, a non-Opportunity Zone fund. It too includes the nonprofit Black Impact Community Fund intended to ensure tenants realize gains created.
SoLa Impact disclosed that the fresh investment is the first real estate investment from the CalSTRS Sustainable Investment and Stewardship Strategies Team.
Kirsty Jenkinson, CalSTRS’ SISS investment director, made stated, “Our dedicated portfolio seeks to achieve superior financial returns while creating demonstrable social and environmental outcomes. The investment with SoLa Impact is our first real estate investment within SISS and aligns with our goals. We are delighted to work with the SoLa team, our colleagues in the CalSTRS Real Estate team, and our partners at Belay to expand affordable and workforce housing in California.”