Underserved communities

What it will take to realize true equality

To change the trajectories of underserved communities, strong collaboration by the public, private and nonprofit sectors is needed

As communities across the country continue to adjust to the effects of the coronavirus, many are also focused on solving for underlying social issues such as poverty, access to medical services and lack of economic mobility. To navigate through and recover from this health and humanitarian crisis, underserved communities need support from nonprofits, government agencies and the private sector. Recognizing that no one sector can solve the historical issues that impede progress for underserved communities, Bank of America is working with partners to address immediate needs as well as longer term economic recovery of communities. Examples include the bank’s $100 million philanthropic commitment to local nonprofits addressing medical response, access to education, food insecurity and support of vulnerable populations impacted by the coronavirus. And in March 2021, the bank made a $1.25 billion, five-year commitment, spanning across the company, to address racial equality and economic opportunity, with a focus on advancing people and communities of color.

Below are examples of how local government, nonprofits and companies can partner to solve some of the challenges underserved communities face.

Medical Services

Grady Memorial Hospital is Atlanta, GA’s, largest safety-net hospital, serving a majority African American population. A $500,000 grant from Bank of America has helped Grady increase capacity for acute patient care, expand in-house coronavirus testing and develop a telehealth program to help individuals remotely.

Read a Q&A with Grady’s chief medical officer and chief of staff Robert Jansen, M.D., on how the hospital is adjusting to meet the needs of its patient community during the coronavirus.


AltaMed LA began as a grassroots-organized neighborhood health clinic in 1969 focused on providing southern California’s Latino community with healthcare. Bank of America’s $500,000 grant is helping it continue to provide emergency, dental and senior services to its 300,000+ patients.

Watch Senior Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer, and President of the AltaMed Foundation, Zoila D. Escobar describe how the organization pivoted to continue providing high-quality healthcare to their community during the coronavirus.

Howard University Hospital has been providing research and medical training opportunities to the African American community for more than 150 years. A $1 million grant from the bank helped this Washington D.C. trauma center provide care for its majority black patient community during the coronavirus.

Listen to a podcast of Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick, President of Howard University, discuss how his career as a surgeon has influenced his work as an educator, administrator and champion of underserved communities.

El Rio Health Center provides access to comprehensive medical care for some of Tucson, AZ’s, most vulnerable citizens, including the homeless and uninsured. Bank of America’s $15,000 grant helped El Rio Health Center Foundation set up specific coronavirus care areas at their eight regional health centers, establish a critical telehealth platform, and deploy healthcare workers into the Latino community to screen individuals at senior care facilities and homeless shelters.

Vulnerable Communities

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center – Pueblo Relief Fund, was created in the wake of the coronavirus to meet the most critical needs of the native peoples of New Mexico, a community hit particularly hard by the virus. While they make up 10% of the population, they represent more than 53% of the state’s cases.footnote[1] A $50,000 grant from Bank of America is helping provide food and supplies to help the Pueblos during the coronavirus.

Broad Street Ministry leads a coalition of agencies and nonprofits in Philadelphia, PA, where poverty, homelessness and food insecurity were significant challenges in the city long before the coronavirus. A $250,000 grant from the bank helped local nonprofits coordinate with local government agencies to provide food, medical services and shelter to the city’s homeless and at-risk populations during the pandemic.


Kern County Superintendent of Schools Education Services Foundation provides educational resources to 40,000 primarily Hispanic low-and moderate-income students in the Bakersfield, CA, area, a community struggling with unemployment and poverty levels well above national averages. Bank of America’s $75,000 grant helped KCSOS purchase 21,000 Chromebooks for students, while also providing internet connectivity to support distance learning.

Watch third-grade teacher Wajeha Chaudry share how she’s been able to stay connected with her students and continue to foster a sense of community through the coronavirus.

students checking computer

Learn more about Bank of America’s continued support of low- and moderate-income communities during the coronavirus.

Originally published 08/07/2020