ImpactAlpha, June 15 — Financial services giant Equitable is investing $15 million in L.A.-based SoLa Impact’s Black Impact Fund, which invests in affordable housing in Black and brown communities in the U.S., particularly low-income communities in South L.A.
The investment “advances economic mobility through affordable and workforce housing, access to education, mentorship and career advancement,” said Equitable’s Steve Joenk.
The fund has secured commitments from PayPal, Skoll Foundation, Ally Bank, Pacific Premier Bank and the California Teachers’ Retirement System.
A lawsuit from a Los Angeles nonprofit alleges SoLa exposed tenants in one of its buildings to “health and safety threats on a daily basis” including rats and cockroaches and water damage, reports the Los Angeles Times. At least five lawsuits citing harsh living conditions are pending against the fund manager.
SoLa’s Martin Muoto has been praised by Oprah Winfrey and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti (see, “Agent of Impact: Martin Muoto”).
Muoto is pushing back against the lawsuits, which he called “commonplace tools used by predatory, contingency lawyers in California.” His personal reaction to the article: “A renewed and intensified commitment to continuing to improve and continuing to be excellent.”