Alabama NewsCenter Staff
Birmingham-based Regions Bank and the nonprofit Regions Foundation have surpassed its two-year, $12 million commitment to advance programs and initiatives that promote racial equity and economic empowerment for communities of color. Through November, the bank and foundation had allocated a combined $14.6 million, officials announced in a news release. They said the figure will continue to grow as additional investments are made.
“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,” Turner said. “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 Regions Foundation is a nonprofit initiative primarily funded by Regions Bank. Grants, direct equity investments and community partnerships benefit more than 270 organizations supported by the bank and foundation as part of their commitment to advance racial equity and economic empowerment. The organizations operate in 13 states across the Regions Bank footprint in the Southeast, Midwest and Texas.
Leroy Abrahams, president of the Regions Foundation and head of Community Affairs for Regions Bank, said the organizations updated their focus in 2018 to “prioritize more inclusive prosperity.”
“Then, in 2020, our world changed as never before with the impact of the pandemic as well as a series of racial injustices,” Abrahams said. “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 affect communities with targeted outcomes enabling progress to be tracked and measured, Regions officials said. The strategic pillars are:
- Supporting community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and minority deposit institutions (MDIs) – CDFIs and MDIs promote the economic viability of underserved communities by providing additional access to essential financial products and services. Among those receiving investments in Alabama is Mobile-based Commonwealth National Bank.
- Advancing minority business development – Among the investments in Alabama is a microlending projectsupported by the Birmingham-based Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama that supports Hispanic small-business owners in accessing unconventional loans to open or expand their businesses.
- Increasing minority homeownership
- Reducing the digital divide
- Promoting educational attainment and workforce success for people of color – Among the Alabama projects receiving support is Build UP, a workforce-focused high school in Birmingham that teaches students academic and in-demand workforce skills through hands-on apprenticeships.
- Promoting racial understanding
“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 said. “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.”