Adriana Kong-Romero, Tucson market president, Bank of America
On June 2 Bank of America announced their commitment to spend $1 billion helping local communities address economic and racial inequality accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Their four-year programs will focus on communities of color who have experienced a greater negative impact from the COVID-19 outbreak than others.
“Underlying economic and social disparities that exist have accelerated and intensified during the global pandemic,” said Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan in a press release. “The events of the past week have created a sense of true urgency that has arisen across our nation, particularly in view of the racial injustices we have seen in the communities where we work and live. We all need to do more.”
On May 25, a Black man named George Floyd was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis over suspicion of a forged check. The graphic video of his murder in broad daylight was circulated on social media, sparking outrage and protests across the world.
Many activists have called on corporations and public institutions to better address racial and economic inequality in a way that goes beyond surface-level commitments to diversity and inclusion.
Bank of America’s $1 billion funding will go toward health services, job and skills training, small business support and housing. The programs will be administered through the bank’s 90 local US market presidents and non-US executives, who will put funds toward following actions:
● COVID-19 testing, telemedicine, flu vaccination clinics and other health services, with a special focus on communities of color
● Partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic-serving institutions in the United States for hiring, research programs, and other areas of mutual opportunity
● Support to small businesses owned by people of color, including clients and vendors
● Career skills training through partnerships with high schools and community colleges
● Investment in affordable housing/neighborhood revitalization
Adriana Kong-Romero, the Tucson market president with Bank of America, said this new commitment will build on their important work to assist communities of color throughout Southern Arizona, including career training, anti-poverty and homelessness service programs and hiring local bilingual bankers from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
“And while we recently directed $300,000 to local Coronavirus relief efforts, including to El Rio Health Foundation, more can be done,” Kong-Romero said. “We are committed to doing more to improve economic opportunity and racial equality, with the ultimate goal of creating lasting change.”
For more information on this new initiative, click here