RevOZ Capital Announces $1B Social Impact Initiative and Leadership Council

Today, RevOZ Capital launched a new Social Impact Initiative with a commitment to invest into $1 Billion in Opportunity Zone projects over the next three years.

“There is no better time than now to highlight the importance of investing into overlooked communities,” Lisa Merage, Managing Partner of RevOZ Capital. “We are excited to further our commitments in Opportunity Zones across the country and look forward to facilitating the economic growth and positive social impact that will come from these projects.”

Launched in 2017, RevOZ Capital has been an early and steadfast leader in the Opportunity Zone marketplace, investing in projects with a total capitalization exceeding $500m, evaluating over 500 prospective deals, and funding six projects in five markets across the country. In the wake of COVID-19, as the country looks to “Build Back Better,” RevOZ has developed a new Social Impact Initiative to better focus its work on catalyzing transformative, inclusive, and equitable economic development in overlooked urban centers across the country.

  • Invest into $1B of New Development Projects in Emerging Communities.
    Over the next three years, RevOZ plans to invest into $1B of Opportunity Zone developments in emerging markets across the country. RevOZ seeks to exclusively focus on growing metro areas hit hard by Covid-19 and historically overlooked by traditional private investors with significant potential to attract new residents, employers, and entrepreneurs. RevOZ will focus on long-term opportunities (10+ year holds) in collaboration with committed and experienced local partners with deep insight into local community wants and needs.
  • New Social Impact Council
    To shape and advise its work, RevOZ is launching a new Social Impact Council comprised of diverse, multidisciplinary leaders with deep community, government, and business expertise:
    • Hon. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, former Democratic Mayor of Baltimore and CEO, SRB & Associates
    • Hon. Mick Cornett, former Republican Mayor of Oklahoma City and Author, The Next American City
    • Josh Childress, CEO, LandSpire Group and former NBA player
    • Derrick Morgan, Managing Partner, KNGDM Group and former NFL player
    • Kunal Merchant, Managing Director, Lotus Advisory and President, CalOZ
    • Rachel Reilly, Founder, Aces and Arches and former Director of Impact Strategy, EIG
    • Brett Theodos, Senior Fellow, Urban Institute

The Council will advise overall social impact strategy, including development of new tools and methodologies to ensure strong community engagement, impact assessment, and fund transparency and reporting.

“I’m proud to join this Council and help RevOZ ensure its investments reflect high standards of community engagement and impact,” said council member Josh Childress. “The Opportunity Zone program has tremendous potential for good, but only if OZ funds work creatively and collaboratively with local, long-term residents. I look forward to helping RevOZ shape their work and impact.”

“Opportunity Zone funds can both do well and do good, but only if they create real partnerships and real impact for local communities,” said council member Derrick Morgan. “RevOZ’s Social Impact Initiative is an important step in that direction, and I’m eager to explore ways to support their work both in Nashville and across the country.”

Despite the economic and public health headwinds presented by COVID-19, RevOZ has remained active in the Opportunity Zone marketplace.  In recent months, RevOZ has also closed on Opportunity Zone projects in Sacramento, CAIndianapolis, IN, and Charleston, SC. In addition, a May 2020 report released by the White House highlighted RevOZ’s investment in a behavioral health facility in San Bernardino, CA as a national best practice.

For more information on RevOZ Capital and Social Impact Council, please visit www.RevOZCapital.com.

About RevOZ Capital

RevOZ Capital facilitates the revitalization of Opportunity Zones by providing co-investment capital for institutional quality projects. RevOZ’s proven approach is a product of the founders’ deep experience in urban redevelopment, capital markets and decades of cycle-tested commercial real estate (CRE) experience. RevOZ has been recognized as a pioneer in the Opportunity Zone arena and was named “Opportunity Zone Investor of the Year” by Globe St. in 2019. RevOZ has developed unrivaled expertise in navigating the regulatory complexities as well as a rigorous deal selection process for qualifying Opportunity Zone projects.

SOCIAL IMPACT COUNCIL MEMBERS

LISA MERAGE (COUNCIL CHAIR)
Managing Director, RevOZ Capital

Lisa serves as Managing Partner of RevOZ Capital and Chair of its Social Impact Advisory Council. She is also Co-Founder and Managing Partner of RAJ Capital, a Newport Beach based firm that serves as the alternative asset platform of the Bhathal Family Office. RAJ Capital was established after successfully selling the family’s 50-year old women’s swimwear business, RAJ Swim, to private equity. Lisa was Co-President of RAJ Swim from 2006-2016.  Along with her family, Lisa is co-owner of the Sacramento Kings, Golden 1 Center, Sawyer Hotel, and is the developer of the Downtown Commons entertainment and sports district in Sacramento. With a philanthropic passion for both the arts and education, Lisa is on the Board of the Orange County Museum of Art as well as involved with Segerstrom Center as an Angel of the Arts. She currently serves as a Trustee for Sage Hill School, and served for 7 years as a Trustee at St. Mary’s IB World School.  In 2015, she was awarded the “Altruist of the Year” Award from Modern Luxury magazine.  Lisa is also a board member of Gen Next, a nonprofit aimed at education reform, economic growth, and national security. Lisa is a graduate of USC’s Marshall School of Business.

JOSH CHILDRESS
CEO, Landspire Group

Josh co-founded LandSpire Group to further his personal commitment to community development and expand the investment platform for people of color. While Josh spent 15 years as a professional basketball player in the U.S., GreeceAustralia and Japan, he has cultivated over 10 years of experience as a venture capitalist and real estate investor. He was a seed stage investor in Viola, the largest black-owned cannabis company in the U.S., is part owner of the SouthEast Melbourne Phoenix, the only black and minority-owned sports team in Australia and is a published author. In 2010, Josh founded the Josh Childress Foundation (JCF) to provide mentorship and resources to high school and collegiate athletes. He also established and funded the Josh Childress Athletic Scholarship, the first ever Summer Studies scholarship at Stanford University. Josh received his B.A. in Sociology from Stanford University.

MICK CORNETT
Former Mayor, City of Oklahoma City and Author, The Next American City

Mick Cornett was the mayor of Oklahoma City from 2004-2018. He was the city’s first mayor to be elected to four terms. Named in 2018 to Fortune Magazine’s list of the 50 Greatest Leaders in the World, Cornett left office with Oklahoma City having produced 100,000 new jobs and over 9,600 new businesses. While in office, Cornett also helped secure Oklahoma City’s first major league sports team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the passage of a $777 million quality-of-life infrastructure program. Mick served as President of The United States Conference of Mayors between 2016-2017 and served as national President of the Republican Mayors and Local Officials (RMLO). Prior to public service, Cornett spent 20 years as a television sportscaster, news anchor, and broadcaster. His latest book The Next American City was published by Penguin/Random House in 2019. He now spends his time traveling to speak on his book, and consulting for a diverse group of businesses. Mick holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma, and an MBA from New York University.

KUNAL MERCHANT
Managing Director, Lotus Advisory

As Co-founder and Managing Director of Lotus Advisory, Kunal provides strategic advisory, management, public affairs, and communications support to clients in sports, real estate, technology, and philanthropy. He specializes in cross-sector collaborations, having advised over $8B in public-private partnerships nationwide. Recent clients include the Oakland A’s, Sacramento Republic FC, Nashville SC, Airbnb, and Chan Zuckerberg Institute. Kunal is also President and Co-Founder of CalOZ, California’s leading trade organization dedicated to supporting quality Opportunity Zone investments around the state. Prior to Lotus, Kunal was an executive with the Sacramento Kings, where he played a central role in the development and financing of the $1.5B Golden 1 Center and Downtown Commons development. Kunal also served as the Mayor’s Chief of Staff for the City of Sacramento, a management consultant at Katzenbach Partners, and social entrepreneur in health care and education. He earned his BA in Economics and MBA from Harvard University.

DERRICK MORGAN
Managing Partner, KNGDM Group

Derrick Morgan is a former NFL linebacker who enjoyed an amazing nine year career with the Tennessee Titans. Derrick has a passion to change the narrative of a traditional athlete. He is a champion of empowerment for the underserved as well as an advocate for financial literacy. Derrick has been involved in commercial and residential development in Nashville and Austin over the last several years. He is a Co-founder of NexLegacy construction company, and engages with FEMA to deliver construction services to areas hit by natural disasters. Derrick is also an angel investor, investing in dozens of companies over his professional career. More recently, aligning his private finances with his values, Derrick has started KNGDM Group, an Opportunity Zone initiative focused on investing in projects and companies that generate a double bottom line return (financial + social/environmental). He is an early investor in food sustainable company Beyond meat, as well as Bitwise, a tech startup that administers technology training for minorities. Derrick believes that private investment has a critical role in revitalizing marginalized communities and continues to leverage his platform for positive change. Derrick is married with 2 children and his faith is the centerpiece of his life. He studied Business Management at Georgia Tech and received his MBA from the University of Miami.

STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE
CEO, SRB Associates

Stephanie leads and founded SRB & Associates, which provides consulting and advocacy services to cities, businesses and elected officials. She previously served as Baltimore’s 49th mayor from 2010 to 2016. During her tenure, she passed significant legislation surrounding Baltimore financial planning and reform and helped make the city more immigrant friendly. She also served as President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCOM) and Secretary of the Democratic National Committee following the reelection of President Obama. She currently serves on the USCM Board of Trustees.

RACHEL REILLY
Founder, Aces and Archers

Rachel Reilly is the Founder of Aces and Archers, a strategic advisory firm a strategic advisory firm that specializes in impact investing and economic development. She recently departed her role as EIG’s Director of Impact Strategy, where she led the organization’s work to support communities, policymakers and investors in their efforts to catalyze sustainable economic growth across the country through Opportunity Zones and other forward-thinking initiatives. Previously, Rachel was the Director of Impact Investing at Enterprise Community Partners where she expanded community investment opportunities for people and businesses. Rachel was at the helm of Enterprise’s engagement with Opportunity Zones, and her portfolio of work included leading Enterprise’s $100 million debt offering – the Impact Note – in addition to policy and advocacy activities related to impact investing. She has a Master’s in Real Estate Development from the University of Maryland, and served two terms as an elected representative in Washington, D.C.

BRETT THEODOS
Senior Fellow, Urban Institute

Brett Theodos is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Community Economic Development Hub at the Urban Institute. He is currently leading several efforts to study and inform the implementation of Opportunity Zones. His other work includes studies of the Economic Development Administration, the New Markets Tax Credit program, SBA and other small business loan and investment programs, and HUD’s Community Development Block Grant, Section 108, Strong Cities Strong Communities, and Choice Neighborhoods programs. He is studying how capital flows (or fails to flow) into communities, and the roles of mission finance actors like CDFIs. He is investigating the effects of several large place-based initiatives. Brett also directs Measure4Change, which provides technical assistance and facilitates a community of practice for nonprofits. Brett serves on the boards of the Center for Community Progress, the Douglass Community Land Trust, and the Housing Authority of Prince George’s County. He received his BA from Northwestern University, MPP from Georgetown University, and PhD in Public Policy from George Washington University.

SOURCE RevOZ Capital

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