Announcing his retirement from the NFL earlier this month, former Tennessee Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan is now putting his energy into tackling economic inequality. Morgan is already moving full speed ahead with his next full-time endeavor — impact investing and empowering underserved communities across the country.
Upon retiring from professional football, the 30-year old is sharing his plans to invest in Opportunity Zones — federally designated low-income communities in the U.S. where new investments may be eligible to receive preferential tax treatment through a provision put in place by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
Morgan, who completed an 18-month executive MBA program at the University of Miami in 2016, established KNGDM Impact Fund earlier this year to raise $50 million to invest in Opportunity Zones, including in his hometown of Coatesville, PA. KNGDM is also partnering with Activated Capital to raise up to $200 million for another Opportunity Fund. With years of experience investing in real estate in Coatesville and other cities, including in his former NFL team’s city of Nashville and in Atlanta where he attended college at Georgia Tech, Morgan is looking to make an elevated social impact with his Opportunity Zone investments.
“Instead of giving people a handout, I felt we could empower people. I started reallocating my assets out of the market and into impact investments,” stated Morgan. “It’s a triple or double bottom line. You get a financial return and some type of a social or environmental impact at the same time. This is a way to utilize your wealth and align it with your values.”
Also an experienced impact investor in companies like CleanFiber, which makes insulation out of recycled cardboard, and CNote, an investment platform that supports the work of community development financial institutions (CDFIs) nationwide, Morgan’s commitment to responsible investing is critical to the social impact of the Opportunity Zones provision, which currently lacks a complete set of federal regulations and has caused concern among community development practitioners that it will lead to increased gentrification and displacement.
Morgan’s NFL retirement epitomizes the saying “when one door closes, another one opens.” As new doors figuratively open for Morgan, he’s also expanding opportunity and helping to literally open doors to new homes, new businesses, new community facilities and so much more in economically distressed communities around the country.