Mastercard has announced it is launching a massive $500 million investment into Black communities amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit those groups disproportionately hard. The initiative — announced Thursday — also comes on the heels of a summer that has seen nationwide protests and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement following the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white police officer at the end of May. Split into three main parts, the investment will focus on making financial tools and services more affordable and accessible for Black communities as well as investing heavily in Black-owned small businesses.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund has awarded $25.2 million to 138 community banks and thrifts serving America's most economically distressed communities. Of the awardees, 68 are members of the Community Development Bankers Association (CDBA), who received a total of over $13.5 million in awards (nearly 54 percent of the total award dollars). Over 97 percent of CDBA members awarded this year received the maximum grant amount of $202,898.
The COVID-19 public health crisis coupled with the protests around the country calling for racial justice have made one thing clear: We must use this opportunity to confront and address long-standing issues of racial equity and access to capital and opportunity in this country. Whether we come out of this moment stronger or not depends on how we take action to change economic and social disparities. This is why Harbor Bank and JPMorgan Chase are partnering to make long-term investments that shift the economic future of underserved communities in Baltimore and across the region.
On June 2, Bank of America made a $1 billion, four-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity. Today, the company is announcing its initial progress by directing one-third, or $300 million, of its $1 billion commitment to four key areas across 91 U.S. markets and globally: $25 million in support of jobs initiatives in Black and Hispanic/Latino communities, $25 million in support of community outreach and initiatives, $50 million in direct equity investments to Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), and $200 million of proprietary equity investments in minority entrepreneurs, businesses and funds. MDI recipients will include First Independence bank and Optus Bank.
First Southwest Bank, a community development financial institution, is forging links with its Native American neighbors by offering opportunities for career and economic development. FSWB’s partner nonprofit, the First Southwest Community Fund (FSWCF), is another tool the community bank is using to connect with the Native population. It has created a pilot loan program dubbed the Native American Entrepreneur Loan Fund.