John W. Rogers Jr. made headlines when he formed Ariel Investments back in the 1980s. The company is a Black-owned mutual fund giant that is one of the first — and only — of its kind.
Now, he’s making headlines again.
Forbes is reporting that the firm launched a private fund business called Ariel Alternatives, with the backing of a to invest and scale sustainable minority-owned businesses.
The endeavor is called “Project Black,” and it will be co-chaired by Ariel Investments co-CEO Mellody Hobson and Leslie A. Brun, the founder and former head of Hamilton Lane, a powerhouse alternative investment firm with $500 billion in assets.
The fund was formed with the intent to close the racial inequality gap.
“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,” said Hobson.
“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,” added Brun.
Ariel Investments also named other power players to the Project Black advisory board, including Paget L. Alves, formerly chief sales officer of Sprint, James Bell the former CFO of Boeing, William M. Lewis, Jr. chairman of investment banking at Lazard, Robbie Robinson, a former partner at BDT Capital Partners, David J. Vitale, former vice-chair of Bank One, and John W. Rogers Jr. himself.