A Look at Banks’ Charitable Efforts: Ways Bank of America, Citi and More Give Back
Banks get a bad rap. It’s easy to make villains out of the people who control the cash, but banks are the beating heart of capitalism. The credit they extend and the loans they issue are the lifeblood of small businesses, big businesses and the American consumer economy as a whole. Investment banks got away with economic and financial murder in 2008, a fact that stained the entire industry for a generation. This time around, however, America’s biggest financial institutions appear to be making good-faith efforts at redemption.
2021 Small Business Spotlight: Nominate Your Favorite Small Business and Share With Your Community
Not only did banks keep crucial capital flowing throughout the COVID-19 crisis, but the corporations of the financial industry were among the very earliest and most generous givers from the outset of the pandemic, according to Inside Philanthropy. When civil unrest erupted in response to racial injustice in cities across the country, America’s banks again got on board quickly and with real money.
Banks large and small have made donations, started funds, launched foundations and distributed grants to nonprofits for all kinds of issues and causes, and they continue to be some of the most generous givers in the corporate world. Here are just a few of the ways banks are giving back.
Bank of America Gifted $1 Million to Latino History
One of the most recent stories of banks giving back came just at the end of March when the Smithsonian Latino Center announced a $1 million gift from Bank of America. The gift made Bank of America one of the first corporate sponsors of the Molina Family Latino Gallery at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
Bank of America Is Banking on Racial Equity
A single $1 million gift to an individual cause that supports minorities is definitely a good thing, but the Smithsonian donation is just a little sliver of a much larger Bank of America social justice initiative. Bank of America pledged a full $1 billion to be rolled out over four years. The money is earmarked for small businesses and community programs to address racial inequity, particularly as it relates to COVID-19.
How We’re Adapting: COVID’s Financial Impact After 1 Year
Citi Put Its Foundation To Work
Bank of America is not the only big bank that dug deep for COVID-19 relief. Citibank and the Citi Foundation have given or pledged more than $100 million to pandemic-related causes. Also like Bank of America, the Citi initiative puts a special focus on areas of racial inequity that were revealed or worsened by the pandemic. The new funding increases Citi’s support for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which tend to serve the hardest-hit communities.
Chase Went Big
Even the massive undertakings of Citibank and Bank of America look small next to JPMorgan Chase’s racial justice initiative. Chase has committed a massive $30 billion to address the racial wealth gap in America. The vast majority of that commitment will go to housing in the form of 100,000 affordable rental units and $12 billion in mortgage loans that Chase would not have issued otherwise.
Read: How Each Generation Has Been Affected Financially By the Pandemic
Wells Fargo Built a Volunteer Army
Wells Fargo gives its employees 16 paid hours per year to volunteer their time in the communities where they live and work. Wells Fargo offers a big menu of volunteerism opportunities across the world and its workers have definitely taken their company up on the offer. More than 91,000 Wells Fargo employees are currently active volunteers — that’s about one of the bank’s employees in three.
Sound Good?: 6 Uncommon Job Benefits You Should Demand Right Now
US Bank Is Rebuilding and Transforming
Headquartered in Minneapolis at the epicenter of the George Floyd unrest, U.S. Bank created a fund dedicated solely to issues dealing with racism and inequality. It’s called the Rebuild and Transform Fund, and U.S. Bank initially funded it with $15 million. It makes philanthropic donations to Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)-led organizations with Black-led nonprofits taking priority. The fund is just one part of a much larger $116 million social justice initiative by U.S. Bancorp.
PNC Has Served Millions of Children
The Grow Up Great initiative is the signature program of the PNC Foundation. Since its founding in 2004, the $500 million bilingual programs have served 7 million children. Focusing on children from birth through age 5, the program helps prepare the youngest and most underserved kids to get ready for school, socialization and learning. The foundation funds many other programs, as well, all of which focus on education and community investment, including affordable housing, community development and arts and culture.
See: Don’t Miss These 4 Tax Breaks in the $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Plan
TD Bank Spreads It Around
The TD Charitable Foundation has contributed $254 million in nonprofit grant funding since the foundation was launched in 2002. Most recently, its Housing For Everyone program awarded $4.9 million to 32 different grant recipients. The awards went to communities in TD’s region from Maine to Florida and were distributed through nonprofits dedicated to supporting renters and preventing evictions, particularly in the post-COVID-19 landscape.
More: How the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Affecting Renters vs. Homeowners
A Little Bank Made a Big Difference
Compared to the likes of Citibank, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, First Financial is just a little regional bank with only a few branches in “flyover country.” Even so, a February 2021 Northwest Indiana Times report shows that Cincinnati-based First Financial managed to donate $3.5 million in 2020 to charitable causes including coronavirus relief across the Midwest.
Truist Doubled Down
Just as the virus was beginning to settle in at the end of February 2020, Truist Bank was establishing its giving-back bona fides with a $1 million gift to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. When things started getting bad, Truist kicked its efforts into high gear. Initially, the bank donated $25 million to COVID-19 relief before doubling it to $50 million. That’s the amount it has donated since March through the Truist Cares program.
More From GOBankingRates
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase.