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New investment firm Turner Impact Capital aims for social change

BusinessReal EstateFinanceInvestmentsAndre Agassi
Turner Impact Capital intends to do 'good works' while yielding strong financial returns for investors
Investment firm CEO: 'Making money and creating positive social change do not need to be mutually exclusive'

A team of real estate investment executives has founded an investment firm called Turner Impact Capital that is intended to do "good works" while returning strong financial returns for investors.

The Santa Monica firm is led by Chief Executive Bobby Turner, who has a history of investing in real estate developments such as housing and shopping centers in urban neighborhoods that were overlooked or avoided by other financiers.

Turner, 51, is the former chairman and chief executive of Canyon Capital Realty Advisors, a Los Angeles investment management firm. He oversaw a commercial real estate and mortgage asset portfolio totaling more than $12 billion.

Initially, Turner Impact Capital will focus on funding the creation of charter schools in urban neighborhoods, Turner said. Later, the fund will address the need for rental housing in major metro markets by acquiring, improving and managing housing for people in the local workforce.

It will also seek to financially support the growth of quality primary healthcare providers by developing facilities to help deliver affordable medical services to densely populated, ethnically diverse communities across the country.

"One of the most important lessons I've learned throughout my career is that making money and creating positive social change do not need to be mutually exclusive," Turner said. "We founded Turner Impact Capital on the principle that market-driven solutions can be applied and scaled to address many of today's most pressing societal issues in ways philanthropy and the government cannot."

The firm is working with former tennis star Andre Agassi to develop charter school campuses across the nation, Turner said.

Through the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund, the new firm will facilitate the development of about 60 new charter school campuses for as many as 30,000 underserved students across the United States by fall 2015, Turner said.

Turner and the firm's senior principals Dan Millman, Bari Sherman, Glenn Pierce and Gee Kim have facilitated more than $6 billion of socially and environmentally responsible real estate investments, he said.

"We've proven that investing in ethnically diverse markets and supporting local services can generate strong financial returns, while benefiting local communities and facilitating positive environmental impact," Turner said. "That is what we plan to do on a significant scale for years to come."

roger.vincent@latimes.com

Twitter: @rogervincent

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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