New York Life — known as America’s largest and most admired mutual life insurer — has made a huge stride toward closing the racial wealth gap.

In a press release provided exclusively to AfroTech, New York Life has announced a $1 billion impact investment initiative aimed at addressing the looming issue that comes along with the racial wealth gap.

The initiative includes investing in both underserved and undercapitalized communities over the course of the next three years with a primary focus on affordable housing, community development, and supporting small businesses.

“We are focused on investments that promise to not only deliver meaningful societal impacts but also those with the potential to generate market returns for New York Life’s policy owners,”  said Tony Malloy, Executive Vice President & Chief Investment Officer, in an exclusive interview with AfroTech. “Generating positive market returns is key to driving sustainable and positive economic outcomes in underserved and undercapitalized communities over the long-term. With this initial $1 billion commitment and with what else is to come, we aim to make impacts that will make a difference for generations.”

However, creating programs that promote change is nothing new for New York Life.

Prior to the launch of the impact investment fund, the mutual insurance company developed a comprehensive, enterprise-wide commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) policies, activities, and programs.

“Our commitment to DE&I is embedded in all that we do as a company, through a wide variety of talent, philanthropic, civic, business and investment initiatives,” continued Malloy. “The impact investment initiative is an important example of how the company will continue to expand such efforts moving forward, including new workforce-related programs, community partnerships, business initiatives, and philanthropic commitments.”

As a part of the commitment, New York Life has also appointed Managing Director Martin King as the head of impact investments. Not only will he oversee the company’s impact investment focus, but he will continue to oversee $70 billion of investment-grade fixed-income assets.

King will add the impact investing responsibilities to his current role. He will develop and oversee the company’s long-term impact investment strategy to develop large-scale solutions and investment structures that aim to deliver economic outcomes linked to job growth, health, and wellness, as well as personal and household advancement.

Initial investments include a $150 million partnership with Fairview Capital to support diverse and emerging fund managers along with hundreds of small businesses.