Like many public pension funds, the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund had been facing a funding crisis that could negatively impact the retirement of current and future teachers. As Chief Investment Officer of the fund, Angela Miller-May was responsible for managing the retirements of 88,000 public school teachers, yet the over $12 billion fund was underfunded. The fund was seeking new opportunities to increase yield and returns, but faced challenges in identifying opportunities and partners that could lead to a mutually beneficial relationship. To fulfill her fiduciary responsibility and protect the livelihood of Chicago’s public school teachers, Miller-May was looking for investments that could generate the returns needed to make monthly pension payments now and in the future.
“I immediately realized that there were growth opportunities that could meet the investment needs of Chicago Teachers’ and bring much needed private capital into Africa.”
Angela Miller-May Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund
Our Solution & Impact
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) works with institutional investors across the United States to mobilize investment in emerging markets. After participating in several USAID-sponsored investor delegations, Miller-May made the fund’s first investment in Africa – $20 million to two African-focused private equity funds. These investments are a win-win, bolstering the pension accounts of Chicago’s teachers and supporting innovative and impactful African businesses in healthcare, education, telecommunications, and more.
“U.S. pension funds hold $18 trillion dollars in assets that are hungry for high-yield returns, the type of returns you get by investing in Africa.”
Samantha Power Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development