Madison Realty Capital Raises More Than $2 Billion For Madison Realty Capital Debt Fund V

NEW YORK, Jan. 11, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Madison Realty Capital ("Madison") today announced the final close of Madison Realty Capital Debt Fund V LP ("Fund V"), raising $2.08 billion in equity commitments, exceeding the fund's $1.75 billion target.

Fund V received significant support from existing investors as approximately 70% of the institutional LPs in Madison's prior fund re–upped into Fund V. Additionally, 52% of the capital committed for Fund V came from new limited partners, both domestically and abroad.

Madison's global, institutional investor base has historically included public and corporate pension plans, sovereign wealth funds, endowments and foundations, insurance companies, family offices and high net worth individuals located in the United States, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. Madison has now expanded its investor presence to include Australia, Latin America and Canada, as well as new regions within the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

Fund V expands on Madison's investment strategy to serve as a single source of customized flexible financing solutions for borrowers' unique needs providing them with speed and certainty of execution. Fund V originates and acquires loans across asset classes including multifamily, mixed use, retail, office, industrial, land and hotel. Madison invests in transitional and special situation loans as well as provides financing for ground–up development and construction.

In 2021, Madison completed 72 transactions with a gross transaction volume of approximately $6.4 billion across all of its debt investment strategies.

Adam Tantleff, Managing Principal of Madison Realty Capital, said, "Our extensive experience through multiple cycles over the past 17 years is what led both existing and new investors to place their confidence in Madison during this unprecedented time. We are grateful for the trust they have placed in our team, and look forward to continue executing on our investors' behalf."

Madison Realty Capital Debt Fund IV LP held its final close in 2019 and raised $1.14 billion in equity commitments. Since inception, Madison has completed approximately $20 billion in debt and equity transactions.

About Madison Realty Capital

Madison Realty Capital is a vertically integrated real estate private equity firm that, as of December 31, 2021, manages approximately $8 billion in total assets on behalf of a global institutional investor base. Since 2004, Madison Realty Capital has completed approximately $20 billion in transactions providing reputable borrowers with flexible and highly customized financing solutions, strong underwriting capabilities, and certainty of execution. Headquartered in New York City, with an office in Los Angeles, the firm has approximately 70 employees across all real estate investment, development, and property management disciplines. Madison Realty Capital has been frequently named to the Commercial Observer's prestigious "Power 100" list of New York City real estate players and is consistently cited as a top construction lender, among other industry recognitions. To learn more, follow us on LinkedIn and visit www.madisonrealtycapital.com.


Afro-descendants in Costa Rica: A Movement for Justice & Equity

Jan André overcame violence and adversity to become an outstanding university student. Credit: UN Costa Rica 2030 Agenda and the SDGs

By Allegra María del Pilar Baiocchi
SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica, Jan 11 2022 – Jan André is a cheerful and outgoing young man, a superb dancer, and aspiring schoolteacher. Indeed, he wants to become the best schoolteacher in Costa Rica. Fortified by his own will and the encouragement of his family, he overcame violence and adversity to become an outstanding university student.

Yet, in spite of his accomplishments, some people cross the street when they see him coming their way. They hide their belongings when he approaches them on the bus. Guards and staff single him out for surveillance when he enters a supermarket. Police search him and seize his belongings even when he is in a crowd in a public space.

Deeply affected by these experiences, Jan André is now fighting for the rights of people of African descent in Costa Rica.

Inspired by Jan’s work, my colleagues and I decided that the UN has a crucial role in collecting and sharing the life stories of Afro-Costa Ricans. The resulting stories are collected under an initiative called “I am Afro-descendant in Costa Rica and this is my story.”

Caption: The cover of the “I am Afro-descendant in Costa Rica and this is my story,” online publication. Cedit: UN Costa Rica

Published online and in the form of a book, these stories were also designed to celebrate the first International Day for People of African Descent and the bicentenary of Costa Rica’s independence.

With this initiative, we wanted to stop talking about Afro-descendants in the abstract and instead introduce our readers to a variety of women and men, young and old, rural and urban. All of them as unique individuals who help make Costa Rica what it is today.

What have we learned from these stories?

On the one hand, we were able to reveal the incredible diversity of the Afro-descendant community in Costa Rica, the life stories, struggles and dreams true to each one of our profiles. On the other hand, however, we identified a shared experience of discrimination and injustice, a common sense of not being ‘seen’ in their own country and a collective strength that is borne out of families and communities.

It is not for Afro-descendants to “overcome” the discrimination and exclusion to which they are subjected. It is up to all of us to eradicate racism and the enduring legacy of slavery.

That is why, in December 2020, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that 31 August would henceforth be the International Day for People of African Descent. The resolution was initiated by the Government of Costa Rica, led by its Vice-President, Epsy Campbell, and garnered the support of 52 member states.

With UNFPA as the leading entity, we in Costa Rica marked the first commemoration of this international day last year.

“The legacy of slavery echoes down the centuries,” UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed reminded us as part of this commemoration. “The world has not yet overcome racism. Equality and justice for all still elude us. Millions of people of African descent continue to suffer systematic discrimination, perpetuating inequality, oppression and marginalization.”

When we ensure equal opportunities for all populations to achieve their potential and the fulfillment of their rights, we are creating a fairer and more prosperous society for all of us.

The International Day for People of African Descent is a chance to promote the diverse heritage and extraordinary contributions of the African Diaspora. It is also a call to action, a call for all of us to commit ourselves every day throughout the year to build a culture of ever-greater freedom, inclusion, equity and opportunity.

Source: UN Development Programme (UNDP)

Allegra María del Pilar Baiocchi is UN Coordinator Costa Rica. Editorial support was provided by Carolina Lorenzo, Development Coordination Office, and Paul Van DeCarr, Development Coordination Office. To learn more about the United Nation’s work in Costa Rica, please visit CostaRica.UN.org.

 


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Following EFSA Ban of Food Additive Titanium Dioxide (TiO2), Blue California Launches Clean-label Food Grade Whitening Agents as Alternatives

Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., Jan. 11, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Following food authority EFSA's ban of food additive titanium dioxide (TiO2), Blue California, the producer of natural science–based ingredients, launched novel food–grade whitening agents as a clean–label alternative to replacing potential health risk white colorant titanium dioxide.

"Brands that seek to replace the titanium dioxide white colorant will find many benefits to Blue California's patent–pending food–grade whitening agents," said Cuie Yan, Ph.D., vice president of encapsulation. "Our alternative to titanium dioxide is industry–changing with opacifying or whitening effects and excellent sensory benefits with a delicious creamy/rich mouthfeel, and contains proprietary ingredients that may have additional benefits such as supporting cognitive health.”

One of the most widely used food pigments is titanium dioxide (E171), an odorless powder that enhances foods' white color or opacity. The most common titanium dioxide products are chewing gum, candies, pastries, chocolates, coffee creamers, and cake decorations. Titanium dioxide is also used as a pigment in paints and medicines.

In recent decades, concerns about the risks of titanium dioxide consumption have grown. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) categorizes titanium dioxide as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) at a maximum of 1% weight, but other organizations have issued warnings.

New governing rules in Europe are in action for producers to reformulate their products during a six–month window of phasing out titanium dioxide (E171). This follows the food authority European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) decision deeming titanium dioxide (E171) as "not safe" in 2021, and now a complete ban in 2022. France suspended the use of titanium dioxide in January 2020.

"Our clean–label, food–grade, and effective whitening agents are heat and pH stable for a variety of applications that match the performance of titanium dioxide yet overcome its safety concerns," said Yan. "We've innovated these solutions as safe alternatives for brands that need to reformulate products rapidly due to government authorities concerns, bans, and phasing out titanium dioxide."

Blue California's patent–pending food–grade whitening powders have a similar size in diameter to the traditional titanium dioxide with higher L values (whiter), as shown in Table 1 below:

Table 1. Color and particle size comparison between Blue California's novel food–grade whitening agents versus titanium dioxide whitening powder.

Sample ID Color Measurement Redispersion Diameter
L a b nm
Titanium Dioxide (reference) 96.06 –0.26 1.54 310.5
Novel Food Grade Whitening 1 97.42 –0.09 1.45 266.4
Novel Food Grade Whitening 2 97.43 –0.09 1.95 278.2
Novel Food Grade Whitening 3 97.48 –0.11 1.43 305.0

Note: The a and b "Color Measurement' values are color depth markers of red, green, blue, and yellow. The "Redispersion Diameter' measures the particle size.

The food–grade whitening agents have been tested in chewing gum compared to titanium dioxide. The whitening effect results of Blue California's whitening agents are as remarkable as titanium dioxide. The whiteness increases as the dosage increases.

"We're ready to collaborate with product developers to replace titanium dioxide with a clean–label, delicious, and safer whitening agents in their product lines," said Yan.

###

About Blue California

Blue California is an entrepreneurial, science–based solutions provider and manufacturer of clean, natural, and sustainable ingredients used in food, beverage, flavor, fragrance, dietary supplements, personal care, and cosmetic products. For more than 25 years, Blue California has built a strong reputation for creating value in these diverse natural products and nature–inspired industries.

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UN Plea to Save Afghanistan from Full-Blown Humanitarian Crisis

Gul Khan*, 53, alongside his children and grandchildren, adds a handful of plastic to the stove in their home in Kabul. Gul Khan* has five sons and two daughters, and two grandchildren. They fled their home in Nangarhar province three years ago. All the children are now in school and Gul Khan and his 26-year-old son work as day laborers. Life is a struggle and winter is the hardest time. “In summer we only have to worry about food,” said Gul Khan. “But in winter we have to worry about finding fuel to burn, fixing the heating system, falling down on the ice when collecting water.” *Names changed for protection reasons. Credit: UNHCR

By Naureen Hossain
GENEVA, Jan 11 2022 – UN agencies have asked for a record USD 4.4 billion in aid for Afghanistan to avert a full-blown humanitarian crisis that could see hunger, distress, and death and a mass exodus of people from the country.

The agencies OCHA, UNHCR, and their non-governmental organization partners launched their 2022 Humanitarian Response Plans to provide relief for Afghanistan and the region on Tuesday, January 11, 2022.

Speaking at a press conference in Geneva to launch the relief plans, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths stated that this is the “largest-ever appeal for a single country for humanitarian aid”.

Mullah Ahmed* and his children unload firewood that he bought after receiving a cash payment from UNHCR to help his family meet their winter needs. One thousand vulnerable families in the Afghan capital have received cash assistance. Mullah Ahmed, his wife, and their nine children fled their home in Jalalabad four months ago and now live in a house in Kabul that was abandoned by its owner who fled the country during the Taliban takeover. “The cash assistance is very important because my work stops in winter as there is no construction,” he said. “So we need it to buy food and also warm clothes for the children.” *Name changed for protection reasons. Credit: UNHCR

“Events in Afghanistan over the past year have unfolded with dizzying speed and with profound consequences for the Afghan people,” said Griffiths. The world is perplexed and looking for the right way to react. Meanwhile, a full-blown humanitarian catastrophe looms.”

These humanitarian and refugee response plans aim to provide vital humanitarian relief to 23 million people in Afghanistan. They will also be provided to 5.7 million Afghans displaced in local communities in five neighboring countries: Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Funding will be required from donors. The Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan has requested USD 4.4 billion. If funded, this is expected to support aid organizations to ramp up the delivery and output of health services, education, protection services, food and agriculture support, and access to clean water and sanitation.

The Afghanistan Situation Regional Refugee Response Plan alone will require USD 623 million in funding for 40 organizations that provide protection, health and nutrition, shelter and non-food items, livelihoods and resilience, and logistics and telecoms, among other necessary services.

Griffiths was describing the ongoing humanitarian crisis overwhelming Afghanistan. In 2021, it faced increased disruptions to services and struggled to meet its population’s needs.

Its economy has suffered dramatically due to the freezing of assets in central bank reserves, the disruptions in markets, not to mention the sudden pause in international development assistance, upon which many basic social services are dependent. Severe climate-induced problems such as the harsh winter season and one of the worst recorded droughts in the country’s history have only exacerbated poverty among its citizens. Twenty-three million people are at risk of acute hunger.

This also accounts for those Afghans who have been internally displaced – 700,000. OCHA’s relief aid plan accounts for these displaced citizens.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi remarked that the international community must take the steps needed to “prevent a catastrophe in Afghanistan, which could not only compound suffering but would drive further displacement both within the country and throughout the region.”

“It is key not to forget that there is a regional dimension to this crisis,” he said. “Not only Afghan refugees but the people who have been involved in hosting.”

Girls scavenge for fallen olives in an orchard on the edge of Jalalabad. The city is the capital of Nangarhar Province, which hosts internally displaced people from 17 of the country’s 34 provinces – up to 52 percent of the country’s total displaced population — and 72 percent of the country’s returnees live there. Nearly 700,000 people have been forced from their homes in Afghanistan since the beginning of 2021, joining 2.9 million Afghans already internally displaced across the country at the end of 2020. On 15 August, the Taliban took control of the country. The withdrawal of foreign aid has crippled the economy and led to a humanitarian crisis, with some 22.8 million people in the country facing food insecurity.

Neighboring countries currently host 5.7 million registered refugees from earlier waves of forced displacement. Iran and Pakistan account for 2.2 million Afghan refugees. While they have implemented inclusive policies in education and healthcare, the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the countries’ own needs, which presented challenges to these governments to continue their policy of inclusion.

The UNHCR Plan will directly support 40 partner organizations working in the region to provide emergency relief, health and social services, education, and protection to refugees and host communities. It is also estimated to work closely to improve the livelihood and resilience of the Afghans, particularly to those who are more susceptible to exploitation or abuse when crossing borders.

One of the target goals addressed in the press conference was to ensure the country’s stability by supporting efforts to rebuild the economic and social structures.

“The key here is to stabilize the situation inside Afghanistan, which includes the people who are displaced,” Grandi said.

Griffiths also remarked it was crucial to invest in services and structures so that the country is eventually “secure for those [Afghans] who have been displaced to return to their homes”.

The UN leaders expressed hope that the relief plans would accomplish their target goals with the requested funding.

“With continuing adaptation, continuing adjustment, the plans can improve, and access to services can improve,” said Griffiths.

The Taliban’s takeover in August 2021 contributed to the decline in the economy and the freeze in international development assistance. It has threatened to undermine services, further undermining the development gains made in the last two decades. Education has been used as the prime example, with the concern over girls being allowed to return to schools or return to mixed classes with boys.

There is concern about the Taliban’s involvement with the relief plans. However, Griffiths stated that the partner organizations in Afghanistan, almost all NGOs, would “receive the money directly”, including programs that would directly pay frontline workers in the health and education sector.

Grandi remarked that their UN colleagues in the field were in talks every day with the Taliban, who have been open to discussing the scope of these programs, stating: “Humanitarian assistance… has created a space for dialogue.

“It’s that space we need to preserve… that then can be developed and make room for stabilization.”

Open dialogue between the international community and the Taliban would be needed to provide immediate relief to Afghanistan and the region, eventually paving the way for stabilizing the region and alleviating its dependence on donors. In this spirit and the palpable urgency to protect the people of Afghanistan, UNCHR and OCHA are launching their plans for 2022.

When asked at the conference what would happen to Afghans if they did not receive the required funds, Grandi said that if the country’s humanitarian system collapsed, it would likely result in a mass exodus of peoples into the neighboring states and beyond. “We will need that solidarity in those neighboring countries because they will be the first ones hit.”

Griffiths added apart from seeing “hunger, distress, death, despair, at the family level… we would be robbing the people of Afghanistan of the hope that their home is secure and that they can spend the rest of their lives here.”

 


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