Bank of America today announced that it has increased its $1 billion, four-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity to $1.25 billion over five years. This effort further accelerates work already underway to address racial equality and opportunity through direct actions, investments and work to catalyze similar efforts across the private sector.
To date, the company has made more than $350 million in various investments from its initial $1 billion four-year commitment, announced in June 2020, across its primary focus areas of health, jobs/reskilling, affordable housing and small business. Additional funds announced today will further support investments to address racial justice, advocacy and equality for people and communities of color, including those of Asian descent.
"The urgency we feel to address long-standing issues of inclusion and racial inequality has only increased following the attacks and hate speech directed at Asian people over the last year," said Bank of America Chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan. "Across the public and private sectors, it is clear that we must do more - to take action, help others convene, and serve as a catalyst for a broad-based, collective response to the critical issues affecting our nation."
The bank also announced an immediate $1 million commitment and related actions in support of increased advocacy, dialogue and engagement with the Asian American community. Further investments will be identified as part of the company's expanded five-year effort.
Immediate actions taken to help accelerate and expand pre-existing work include:
A grant to the Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice) organization to advance the nonprofit's work to promote civil rights, bystander intervention, in-language advocacy, social services assistance and legal support. This funding supports five Asian Americans Advancing Justice affiliates based in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. The addition of Connie Chung Joe, chief executive officer of Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles, to serve as a member of Bank of America's National Community Advisory Council (NCAC), in support of ongoing dialogue and stakeholder engagement with the Asian community in the U.S., and on broad issues of gender and racial equality. Members of the NCAC engage with leaders on Bank of America's business policies, practices and products in support of employees, clients and local communities. Additional support for the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) and The Leadership Conference Education Fund as the two organizations work to advance local community advocacy, training, and resources through community-based efforts. Increased philanthropic support through Bank of America's employee matching gift program. Bank of America employees can double their charitable donations to these three nonprofits and select others; the company's matching gift minimum has been lowered to $1 for the next 90 days, to expand the impact of their support to the Asian community in the U.S.
"The rising number of attacks against Asian people, including the tragic shootings in Atlanta recently, have served as a stark reminder that we must stand united against discrimination, hate speech and violence," said Thong Nguyen, vice chairman at Bank of America. "We will not tolerate acts of racism in any form. Today's commitment builds upon Bank of America's many years of work in support of inclusion and racial equality."
"Over the past year, we've witnessed increased racism and violence against Asian Americans, underlining the significant need for tools and resources to combat these, as well as a need for culturally specific mental health and victim support resources," said Chung Joe. "We look forward to working with Bank of America and other national advocacy leaders to advance racial equity and create opportunities for all Americans."
Bank of America's work to address racial equity includes participation in the Business Roundtable's new, multi-year effort to improve equity, diversity and workplace culture, and the bank's partnership with the Smithsonian Institution in support of its "Our Shared Future: Reckoning with our Racial Past" initiative.
Within the company, Bank of America's Global Diversity & Inclusion Council includes senior executives from around the world and has been led by Moynihan for more than a decade. The company also connects and supports employees through 11 employee networks and local chapters, including the Asian Leadership Network with more than 11,000 members.
Expanding perspectives is a critical aspect of how Bank of America drives a culture of inclusion. Over the last decade, the company has hosted thousands of courageous conversations with employees, external partners and members of the community to cultivate awareness, inclusion and understanding. Sessions held recently include an event hosted by Bank of America's Asian Leadership Network regarding allyship to address the current climate of race relations in America, particularly in the Asian and Black/African American communities.
Bank of America's $350 million in commitments since June 2020 include:
Equity capital investments in 12 minority depository institutions (MDIs) and community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to provide lending, housing, neighborhood revitalization and other banking services to thousands of individuals and small businesses that do not qualify through traditional lenders. This includes a new investment in Central Bank, an Asian American MDI. $188 million of investment in 61 private equity funds focused on minority and women entrepreneurs to address the persistent gap in access to growth capital for minority-led businesses. Founding partner of the Smithsonian's "Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past" initiative exploring how Americans understand, experience and confront race. More than $22 million in grants to national and local nonprofits supporting workforce development, entrepreneurship, health and emergency needs. Partnerships with 21 higher education institutions and major employers to enhance up-skilling and re-skilling for Black and Hispanic-Latino students. More than $13 million committed to Native American Communities hardest hit by the coronavirus. Expanded opportunities for 50,000 women entrepreneurs at the Bank of America Institute for Women's Entrepreneurship at Cornell. Distribution of 25 million masks to underserved communities across the U.S.
Bank of America also recently tripled its affordable homeownership commitment to $15 billion through 2025 and issued a $2 billion Equality Progress Sustainability Bond designed to advance racial equality, economic opportunity and environmental sustainability. In 2020, the company provided $6.17 billion in affordable housing and economic development financing to help build strong, sustainable communities across the U.S.
Bank of America At Bank of America, we're guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We're delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It's demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).
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SOURCE: Bank of America
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