Raul Anaya (Bank of America Photo)

Coronavirus has infected more than the human body; the economic system has seen some of its darkest days. The unemployment rate has reached overwhelming numbers, multiple small businesses are struggling to keep afloat, and the trenches within housing resources continue to grow. Additionally, racial inequity has come to an inevitable awakening amid a global pandemic. Continual protests denounce the inequality that lives within the Black American community and many companies publicly shared their goals for future change. The needs of the community are surrounded by the urgency for immediate action, Bank of America physically showed up for the cause.

BofA Black Professionals Group volunteer at the L.A. Regional Food Bank (BofA photo)

The leading financial institution is looking to contribute one billion dollars to local communities across the country over a span of 4-years. A large amount was confirmed to be funneled to Los Angeles; this commitment was made to address the economic spiral across the nation. They will invest into local communities that need it most. The dedication answered the calls for racial equality, the focus is to encourage more resources in healthcare, career paths, small business support, and addressing housing shortage.

According to Senior Vice President/Marketing Executive Anthony Turner, Bank of America is the first major corporation to make this type of contribution, “It is our hope that other banks and other corporations will offer to step up with similar commitments to magnify the effect of what we can do. Bank of America has a track record of being a beacon of hope within minority communities, this one-billion-dollar program queued right on schedule with the current turn for social justice.

Anthony Turner (Bank of America Photo)

Turner oversees the greater Los Angeles South Market which includes central L.A., South Bay, Long Beach, San Gabriel Valley and the Inland Empire. He ensured this project was “underway,” prior to the global protests in the name of George Floyd and many other victims. However, the commitment of the program was increased, and the launch was accelerated in light of the loud demands made for equality.

Bank of America’s CEO acknowledged the hardships that surrounded underserved communities during a global pandemic within their press release. “Underlying economic and social disparities that exist have accelerated and intensified during the global pandemic,” said CEO Brian Moynihan. He stated that this corporation needs to do more, with special emphasis on health resources.

Breaking ground at the Jordan Downs community in Watts, with Mayor Eric Garcetti, housing and community leaders and Raul Anaya. BofA has provided $70 million in loan financing for this multi-year redevelopment effort – (Bridge Housing photo)

Local community partners will have a role in this initiative, President of Greater Los Angeles Raul Anaya stated, “We are looking to potentially partner with philanthropy and other large businesses in L.A., because our goal is to create a program ideally that is sustainable with long standing impact. It’s not just about writing checks and funding non-profits, but its helping create new opportunities and new programs that will have long lasting impact in communities of color.” Turner followed Anaya’s statement by clarifying the process of researching local is still developing.

One major collaboration is with Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development. According to their recent announcement about the partnership, Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corporation on Vermont and Wilshire received double the initial investment that was awarded to them. These types of powerhouse deals are looking to expand and bring forth a new level of equality amid the restoration of the economy. Bank of America “approved an additional $100,000 (for a total of $200,000) to help PCR meet the increased demand and larger impact that the virus and economy has had on minority entrepreneurs right now.” PCR has a mission to uplift small businesses and heed their concerns. In result of the additional grants, PCR will be supplying the services needed for small businesses to expand and grow within Los Angeles.

– Bank of America held free painting classes to kids at Taste of Soul while parents received financial education tips. (BofA photo)

As one of the world’s leading financial institutions, Bank of America looks to live out their purpose as a company. They want to preserve and improve the quality of life. The official launch will happen in the coming weeks; the main objective is providing the capital to be utilized as an equalizer across the nation and build a platform for other businesses to follow. This will add to existing programs that link Bank of America to the heart of the needs of the community. Better Money Habits is one of their established projects that enhances the knowledge of financial management for anyone looking to learn.

Key factors that will be covered through this program will include, virus testing, telemedicine, flu vaccination clinics, and funding of health within communities of color. There will be additional collaborations with high schools and historically Black colleges and universities, supporting research and future career pathways.

Raul Anaya joins Merrill executive Michelle Avan and Danny Bakewell Sr at last year’s Women of Influence event (BofA photo)

Looking to build stronger monetary pillars for local brick-and-mortars to lean on during this crisis, Bank of America will create financial bridges for minority-owned small businesses. The programs will be initiated through the company’s 90 local U.S. market leadership and executive members. This leading investment looks to empower housing/neighborhood revitalization, providing a pathway to economic recovery.

COVID-19 has brought accelerated devastation and excelled certain groups into deeper impoverished positions. Low-income senior citizens, the unsheltered, and poverty-stricken communities are among the most susceptible. This one-billion-dollar commitment looks to create positive dialogue within the racially- charged conversation, the double-edged sword of COVID-19 and racial uprisings prompted Bank of America to work swiftly for community support. They are looking to connect with the tragedies happening on a local level and provide real-time solutions.