Illustration featuring three young people of color surrounded by examples of community projects

New help for striving communities

As the private sector innovates aid and financing, seeking holistic solutions to neighborhood challenges is the cornerstone of the approach

Communities across the country are increasingly managing issues that can stretch, and sometimes overwhelm, their available resources. The health crisis underscored this when, as millions of people lost their jobs, demands at food banks skyrocketed and community health clinics and local hospitals became frontline triage centers. These events also amplified disparities in health care access, employment and economic opportunity for communities of color — issues that have persisted for generations.

For local communities to thrive, especially those with vulnerable populations, more affordable housing is needed, greater access to healthcare must be provided, pathways to education must be made available, and resources to support local entrepreneurs increased. Faced with urgent needs in the communities where they operate, the private sector is increasingly moving to find ways to support community needs as part of day-to-day operations, driven by the knowledge that businesses can only be successful if the communities they serve are also successful. Businesses, which rely on healthy communities for their own prosperity, must play a big part in driving solutions.

Finding new ways to provide help local communities need

Financial services companies are innovating new approaches to mobilize capital and provide support for challenges ranging from the lack of affordable housing to too few opportunities for career development, all while supporting business goals. It’s an approach that reflects a growing recognition that the values of any company should include looking out for everyone’s needs, not just those of shareholders.

Through sustainable financing efforts, Bank of America is working on multiple fronts to closely tie the long-term sustainability of the communities it operates in to its global business strategy.

Bank of America vice chairman Anne Finucane

Credit : Photo © Brigitte Lacombe

"Sustainable finance can be a powerful tool in addressing critical environmental and social issues affecting local communities around the country."

Anne Finucane | Vice Chairman at Bank of America

“Sustainable finance can be a powerful tool in addressing critical environmental and social issues affecting local communities around the country,” said Anne Finucane, vice chairman at Bank of America, who leads the company’s ESG, sustainable finance, capital deployment and public policy efforts. “Our communities and the environment are inextricably linked, and Bank of America is dedicated to innovating ways for all kinds of investors to participate in developing solutions through approaches such as ESG-themed securities.”

Deploying capital at scale

Businesses from a diverse range of sectors have recently stepped up efforts to meet local needs. For example, as rising home prices become out of reach for local residents, technology companies are investing in affordable housing. Additionally, skills training and wellness programs are increasingly included in benefits as employers become more attuned to the challenges their employees face in rapidly changing local economies. And while there is an altruistic element to these efforts, the private sector is increasingly aware that the health of the communities they serve impacts the health of the businesses that serve them.

For its part, Bank of America recently:

Sharing success by providing opportunity

Another way companies work to support healthier, sustainable communities involves coordination with local and national nonprofits to provide opportunities for job training, career pathways and more. At Bank of America, this includes:

As communities continue to contend with a variety challenges affecting their neighborhoods, the ability for local and national governments, nonprofits and the private sector to work in concert to provide solutions will become more critical. From scaling the capital needed, to supporting long-term career pathways, to helping provide health care or food security, Bank of America continues to deepen its commitment to ensuring that local communities across the country have the resources they need.