Investment vehicles run by two of the largest black companies in the country – Ariel Investments and Capital Fairview – will get a combined pledge of $250 million, courtesy of the billionaire Steve Ballmer.

The funding is part of the $400 million that the former CEO of Microsoft Corp. and his wife, Connie Ballmer, invested this year in four vehicles focused on helping address the lack of capital available to black American entrepreneurs, according at The Wall Street Journal.

The greetings are for black venture capital and private equity managers. The transactions have not been made public.

A total of $150 million in commitments will go towards two new vehicles. One is run by investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and another by alternative asset manager GCM Grosvenor Inc., with banking giant JPMorgan Chase & Co. overseeing fundraising, per The WSJ.

Other vehicles are linked to Ariel Investments and Fairview Capital. Ariel Investment is not. 1 on the List of BE Asset Managers, while Fairview Capital is not. 2 on the BE Private Equity List. The new investments would apply fund-of-funds strategies to support Black-owned or Black-led businesses. Much of the money will then go to black entrepreneurs or black-owned businesses for investment.

Ballmer, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA basketball teamsaid he made the investment with his own assets, not with his philanthropic organization, The WSJ reported. His net worth is estimated to be around $84 billion. This makes him the ninth richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index

The money is badly needed as funding has dropped drastically. Black startups won $324 million in venture capital funds in the second quarter of this year. But that was down from $1.2 billion in the first quarter of this year and $866 million in the second quarter of last year. The numbers come from the analytics company, Crunchbase.

At the same time, blacks and other minorities make up a tiny number of fund managers, although some progress has been made in recent years. Across America, 5.1% of private equity firms are owned by minorities, including blacks, Latinos and Asians, based on this report.

ballmer said The WSJ that he hopes the $400 million commitment will help correct the imbalance in access to capital between black and white fund managers. “The money isn’t going to black fund managers. And for the black VCs I’ve spoken to, it’s just a little harder than their white counterparts to raise that money.

Ballmer’s investment could help narrow the nation’s racial wealth gap. He was reportedly pushed to act in the wake of the turmoil over the 2020 murder of George Floyd. However, Ballmer has long worried about funding inequities between black and white investment firms.

The Ballmers’ largest new commitment is $200 million for black projecta private equity fund managed by the alternatives arm of Chicago-based asset manager Ariel Investments, The WSJ reported. Private markets investor Fairview Capital, based in West Hartford, Connecticut, will manage a $50 million single-investor fund that supports black private fund managers.

Encouraging news is that the number of black-owned private fund managers is growing, with several new and young companies starting up. Laurence Morse, co-founder and managing partner of Fairview Capital, said The WSJ that his firm “tracked 84 black-owned venture capital and private equity funds to raise funds last year, up 25% from 2020.” He noted that the number could exceed 90 this year. Morse added that it was “a large enough group to create a diversified fund-of-funds portfolio.”

“We know what the opportunity set looks like, and we believe we’re capable of building a portfolio and having proper shots on goal,” he said..