Advancing Racial Equity: Regions Bank and Regions Foundation Surpass $12 Million Commitment

Financial commitment supporting over 270 organizations spanning 13 states.

Regions Bank and the Regions Foundation initially announced their two-year, $12 million commitment to help advance racial equity in June 2020. The commitment has been surpassed over six months early. (Graphic: Business Wire)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--()--Regions Bank and the nonprofit Regions Foundation on Tuesday announced they have surpassed their two-year, $12 million commitment to advance programs and initiatives that promote racial equity and economic empowerment for communities of color. As of November 2021, the bank and foundation had allocated a combined $14.6 million, a total that will continue to grow as additional investments are made.

The $12 million commitment was initially to be achieved by June 30, 2022, with each grant within that total being allocated toward creating more inclusive opportunities for success. The commitment was exceeded over six months early as strategic community partnerships were formed, and expanded, to advance important work underway in several states.

The Regions Foundation is a nonprofit initiative that is primarily funded by Regions Bank. Grants, direct equity investments, and community partnerships are benefiting over 270 organizations supported by the bank and foundation as part of the commitment to advance racial equity and economic empowerment. The organizations operate in 13 states across the Regions Bank footprint in the Southeast, the Midwest, and Texas.

Together, the organizations focus on a range of crucial issues such as education, employment, housing, healthcare, access to capital, and more. Several of the recipients are minority depository institutions (MDIs) or community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that reach underserved people and businesses by providing greater access to crucial financial services.

“At Regions Bank and the Regions Foundation, it is our goal to continuously make impactful strides in advancing and accelerating progress toward greater racial equity and inclusion,” said John Turner, president and CEO of Regions Financial Corp., the parent company of Regions Bank. “These investments and community partnerships are designed to address a gap in access to growth capital, healthcare resources, housing, education, and workforce development opportunities. Regions Bank and the Regions Foundation are both committed to boldly making a difference in creating more equitable outcomes and building meaningful change in the communities we serve.”

“The community commitment of Regions Bank and the Regions Foundation spans the history of our organizations, and it was in 2018 when the bank and foundation came together and updated their focus to specifically prioritize more inclusive prosperity,” added Leroy Abrahams, president of the Regions Foundation and head of Community Affairs for Regions Bank. “Then, in 2020, our world changed as never before with the impact of the pandemic as well as a series of racial injustices. Regions Bank and the Regions Foundation recognized they both had an opportunity to do more. And while the commitment made in 2020 has been surpassed, the work that’s underway will continue. The bank and foundation are consistently developing impactful, innovative ways to level the playing field and support more opportunities for more people to succeed.”

The racial equity commitment announced in 2020 focuses on six strategic pillars that directly impact communities with targeted outcomes enabling progress to be tracked and measured. The strategic pillars are:

1.)

Supporting CDFIs and MDIs:

The pandemic presented challenges for many people and businesses navigating economic volatility, and this difficulty was especially pronounced for several community development financial institutions and minority depository institutions. CDFIs and MDIs serve a unique role in promoting the economic viability of underserved communities by providing additional access to essential financial products and services. The Regions Community Development Corporation (RCDC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Regions Bank, has made several investments in CDFIs and MDIs as part of the $12 million commitment to advance racial equity and economic empowerment. Specifically, the RCDC’s investments are designed to help close the racial wealth gap through greater access to capital.

 

Examples of organizations receiving RCDC investments include:

 

2.)

Advancing Minority Business Development:

Communities of color are faced with longstanding racial disparities in terms of wealth, access to capital, and business ownership. Regions’ support of community partners helps enable small, minority-owned businesses to access resources to stabilize and grow.

 

Examples of organizations supported by Regions Bank as part of the $12 million commitment include:

  • Microlending Project: A project implemented by the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama that supports Hispanic small-business owners in accessing small unconventional loans to open or expand their business.
  • Launch NOLA: A program implemented by Thrive New Orleans that assists underserved entrepreneurs of color by aiding them in developing and growing their own businesses, while also assisting in stabilizing and expanding existing ones.
  • DivInc: An ecosystem builder for early-stage startup programs supporting underrepresented tech entrepreneurs in Austin, Texas.

 

3.)

Increasing Minority Homeownership:

Homeownership is an important path to the creation of intergenerational wealth. From daily business activities, to community partnerships, Regions Bank is consistently working to facilitate greater homeownership opportunities. Further, the Regions Foundation takes a strategic and intentional approach toward removing barriers to success, and this includes helping increase minority homeownership.

 

Examples of organizations supported as part of the $12 million commitment include:

  • LISC Jacksonville: An organization supported by Regions Bank and the Regions Foundation that delivers affordable housing solutions and other strategic community investments in urban neighborhoods in Jacksonville, Florida. Since its inception, LISC Jacksonville has financed and built more than 2,100 units of affordable housing.
  • Enterprise Community Partners and Enterprise Community Loan Fund: An organization supported by the Regions Foundation that exists to make a good home possible for the millions of families without one. Enterprise has a national focus, and financial support provided as part of the racial equity commitment is helping meet housing-related needs in Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.

 

4.)

Reducing the Digital Divide:

The pandemic highlighted the depth of the digital divide in our communities. Regions Bank and the Regions Foundation supported several community partners as they connected more people with technology tools that are vital to success, including distance learning opportunities during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Examples of organizations supported by Regions Bank as part of the $12 million commitment include:

  • Austin Pathways: This organization provided support of virtual learning for families living in Housing Authority properties by providing remote and in-person support through a resident-led Paraeducator Ambassador program, deploying Wi-Fi hotspots for internet connectivity and providing school-grade digital devices.
  • InspiredU: This organization works to improve digital inclusion and increase digital literacy among Atlanta’s underserved youth and families, preparing them for better educational and employment opportunities, thereby strengthening the community.

 

5.)

Promoting Educational Attainment and Workforce Success for People of Color:

Historically, systemic racism and public disinvestment in communities of color have contributed to racial gaps in income, employment, and education. Regions Bank and the Regions Foundation took bold steps to aid community partners in retooling workforce and education systems to close achievement gaps and advance racial equity.

 

Examples of organizations supported by the Regions Foundation as part of the $12 million commitment include:

  • Build UP: A workforce-focused high school in Birmingham, Alabama, supported by the Regions Foundation, Build UP teaches students academic and in-demand workforce skills through hands-on apprenticeships. Curriculum includes home renovations, which help students gain and build wealth through homeownership while improving the community’s housing stock and increasing the number of safe, affordable housing options.
  • Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Foundation: The organization implemented the CareerEdge program that provides on-the-job training, internship and apprenticeship opportunities, and salary reimbursement for those completing the training to fill in-demand jobs.

 

6.)

Promoting Racial Understanding:

Regions Bank supports programs that foster understanding among cultures and celebrate the importance of racial diversity and inclusion as vital components of true racial equity.

 

Examples of organizations supported by Regions Bank as part of the $12 million commitment include:

  • Mission Mississippi: An organization that shares the message of racial reconciliation by developing relationships, hosting cross-cultural activities, and creating environments for safe conversations about race and race relations.
  • Southeast Missouri University Foundation: The organization implemented the Diversity Peer Educators program that provides students the opportunity to develop leadership skills to create and implement campus diversity programs with the support of stipends and training, leading to certification.

The examples continue. And the grants complement Regions Bank’s and the Regions Foundation’s comprehensive commitment toward creating more inclusive prosperity. That overall commitment, in 2020 alone, was backed by community partnerships, volunteerism, and financial support, including:

  • $29.4 million in overall philanthropic & and community giving between Regions Bank ($23.2 million) and the Regions Foundation ($6.2 million)
  • Regions Bank business initiatives also supported $6.1 billion in community development activities such as small-business lending, community-development lending, small-farm lending and Community Reinvestment Act-related investments.

Regions Bank and the Regions Foundation will continue to make progress through a wide range of community engagement initiatives, including ongoing support for greater racial equity and economic empowerment.

“Advancing racial equity and achieving inclusive prosperity are two of the most impactful ways Regions Bank and the Regions Foundation can make a lasting difference,” Abrahams concluded. “Substantial progress has been made. And even more progress will be made as the bank and foundation work closely with community partners to reach more people.”

About Regions Foundation

Regions Foundation supports community investments that positively impact the communities served by Regions Bank. The Foundation engages in a grantmaking program focused on priorities including economic and community development; education and workforce readiness; and financial wellness. The Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation funded primarily through contributions from Regions Bank.

About Regions Community Development Corporation

Regions Community Development Corporation (RCDC) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Regions Bank and serves as a catalyst to help revitalize communities and improve the lives of economically disadvantaged families in the Regions footprint. RCDC helps fulfill Regions’ mission to make life better by providing debt and/or equity financing for projects and entities with a community-development purpose.

About Regions Financial Corporation

Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $156 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, and mortgage products and services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates more than 1,300 banking offices and approximately 2,000 ATMs. Regions Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at www.regions.com.

Contacts

Alicia Anger
Regions Bank
205-264-4551

Regions News Online: regions.doingmoretoday.com
Regions News on Twitter: @RegionsNews

Release Summary

Regions Bank and the Regions Foundation have surpassed their two-year, $12 million commitment to help advance racial equity and economic empowerment.

Contacts

Alicia Anger
Regions Bank
205-264-4551

Regions News Online: regions.doingmoretoday.com
Regions News on Twitter: @RegionsNews