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Northwestern Mutual Invests in Bridging the Racial Wealth Gap

todayOctober 30, 2023

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Northwestern Mutual Invests in Bridging the Racial Wealth Gap
Northwestern Mutual Invests in Bridging the Racial Wealth Gap

Northwestern Mutual, a prominent player in the financial services sector, has reaffirmed its dedication to reducing the racial wealth disparity in the country by infusing an additional $75 million into its Impact Investing Fund. This increment brings the fund’s total to a commendable $175 million.

Initiated in 2021, the Impact Investing Fund has its sights set on national and local levels, concentrating its efforts in Milwaukee, with an emphasis on fostering business growth as well as enhancing both physical and social infrastructure. The investments from this fund not only provide businesses and entrepreneurs with the essential capital to flourish and maintain a positive economic trajectory within their localities but also yield favorable financial returns for Northwestern Mutual’s policyholders.

A peek into the fund’s track record since its inception reveals a series of impactful contributions. Northwestern Mutual has channelized funds into 16 projects, both on a national and local scale. This proactive approach has culminated in investments in approximately 55 diverse enterprises, a noteworthy majority of which are Black-owned. The tangible outcome? The creation of nearly 350 new job opportunities spread out across the nation. Beyond employment generation, the investments have been instrumental in the rehabilitation and sale of cost-effective housing, enhancements to the educational infrastructure, and an increase in seating capacity for student enrollments.

Ray Manista, the executive vice president, chief legal & compliance officer, and secretary at Northwestern Mutual, voiced the company’s firm resolve: “Our dedication to driving change is unwavering, and we take pride in the palpable, significant changes we have facilitated alongside our neighbors, collaborators, and businesses in Milwaukee and its surrounds.” He further elucidated on the fund’s future plans, “With this augmented commitment, we are poised to bolster even more social impact initiatives and support enterprises as they expand their operations and teams within their local spheres.”

But Northwestern Mutual’s commitment doesn’t stop there. They’ve been actively showcasing their allegiance to long-term measures for racial equity. A testament to this is their recent unveiling of the newest batch of entrepreneurs for their Black Founder Accelerator Program. Furthermore, in a pioneering event titled ‘Gather Against the Gap,’ organized in collaboration with Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, the company is hosting a confluence of business magnates, scholars, and domain specialists. These participants will engage in in-depth panel discussions revolving around supplier diversity and economic empowerment, culminating in comprehensive roundtable talks on how organizations can invest in a diverse future and workforce.

Abim Kolawole, Northwestern Mutual’s chief audit executive and the driving force behind the company’s Sustained Action for Racial Equality (SARE) campaign, underlined the event’s objective: “Gather Against the Gap is a forum that fosters dialogue among business stalwarts, academicians, and experts, all unified in their pursuit to address the wealth disparity.” Kolawole added, “The discussions are not only invigorating but hold the promise of inspiring others who are in sync with this overarching mission.”

✴ Who should apply for capital? 
We encourage companies and developers that are committed to addressing inequality and closing the racial wealth gap in the U.S. to apply. The fund will direct investments to underrepresented communities nationally and locally in the Milwaukee area.

✴ What are the areas of impact? 
We are deploying capital with a focus on 1) physical and social infrastructure, 2) create greater access to capital, 3) healthy/sustainable neighborhoods & communities.

✴ How do you access the capital? 
Please forward all inbound requests to [email protected] to start the intake process.

✴ What type of investments are made? 
We make equity or debt investments determined by the area of focus and deal type.


Written by: HYFIN

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