Ariel Alternatives LLC, a private asset management firm affiliated with Ariel Investments LLC, has closed its Project Black LP, Ariel Investments’ first private equity initiative, with $1.45 billion in commitments from its limited partners and co-investors.

The fund looks to invest in middle-market companies that may not currently be minority-owned, as well as existing minority-owned businesses, with $100 million to $1 billion in revenue. Under the fund’s ownership, Ariel aims to transform the companies into certified minority business enterprises of scale that can serve as direct suppliers to the Fortune 500. In addition to Project Black’s $1.45 billion in commitments, JPMorgan Chase & Co. intends to co-invest up to $200 million alongside the fund in future deals.

 “We chose to partner with large institutions that are seeking to drive widespread corporate vendor diversity,” says Leslie Brun, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Ariel Alternatives. “Our goal is to help close the racial wealth gap by creating minority-owned businesses of scale through access to both capital and customers.”

Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to Ariel Alternatives on fund formation.