Three asset management and private equity firms are partnering with Atlanta’s historically Black colleges on a 10-year, $90 million effort to train and mentor students for careers in high-income fields where Black professionals are underrepresented, such as private equity, real estate investment trusts and hedge funds.

Atlanta Hawks principal owner Tony Ressler, executive chairman of Ares Management Corp., one of the firms in the initiative, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an interview Wednesday he’s been interested in finding ways to increase racial diversity in the alternative investment industry for a few years. The framework of the initiative began taking shape six months ago in conversations between the schools, Apollo Global Management, Inc. and Oaktree Capital Management, L.P., Ressler said.

On Tuesday, they announced the creation of “AltFinance: Investing in Black Futures.”

By some estimates, Black entrepreneurs receive only 1% of all private equity or venture capital backing. Ressler said he hopes the initiative will become a blueprint for other companies to partner with colleges and universities to support historically underrepresented students.

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