PGIM Real Estate has hired an affordable housing specialist as the fund manager plans to expand its “impact-oriented” real estate investment activities.

Lisa Davis, who once led the Ford Foundation’s affordable housing programme, has joined as an executive director and portfolio manager, PGIM said. She will focus on affordable housing and “transformative developments” in the US.

PGIM Real Estate is collaborating with the impact investments group of its parent group Prudential Financial.

The company said it will focus on major markets where it anticipates population and economic growth.

Cathy Marcus, PGIM Real Estate’s global chief operating officer and head of the US, said Davis had “unique expertise in improving housing and economic conditions in low-income communities”.

Davis has worked on large-scale affordable housing and redevelopment projects for both for-profits and nonprofits, most recently at Pembrook Capital Management. She led affordable housing and community development finance strategies at the Ford Foundation and helped establish Ford’s impact investing programme.

Based in New York, Davis will report to Soultana Reigle, managing director and senior portfolio manager at PGIM Real Estate.

PGIM Real Estate said it has previously pursued transformative developments through its US value-add platform, and affordable housing across its US funds through inclusionary housing and apartment portfolio acquisitions that have affordable rents.

Prudential Financial’s impact investments group has invested more than $2bn (€1.61bn) in impact-oriented assets since its founding more than 40 years ago. It has more than $715m in assets under management and aims to extend this to $1bn by 2020.