Leroy Abrahams, Head of Community Affairs for Regions Bank and his teams identified three key pillars for community
engagement: economic and community development, education and workforce readiness, and financial wellness.
“Our view is that, as a financial institution, we can, should, and must do more to help level the playing field,” said Leroy Abrahams, Head of Community Affairs for Regions Bank. “We are focused on using our time, talents, and resources in ways where we, as a bank, can make the most meaningful difference.”
Regions Bank, member FDIC, serves customers in fast-growing markets across the Southeast, Texas, and the Midwest. The bank’s community engagement strategy is rooted in the need to help ensure more people across more communities have access to opportunities to succeed.
In 2018, Abrahams and his teams identified three key pillars for community engagement: economic and community development, education and workforce readiness, and financial wellness. These priorities would help Regions make a meaningful difference in response to key issues that would emerge in the following years.
In 2020, following a series of racial injustices, Regions Bank and the Regions Foundation, a nonprofit organization primarily funded by Regions Bank, announced a combined two-year, $12 million commitment to support programs and initiatives that promote racial equity and economic empowerment for communities of color while creating more inclusive opportunities for success. The commitment was surpassed over six months ahead of schedule. By November 2021, the bank and foundation had allocated a collective $14.6 million, a total that continues to grow.
The bank’s and foundation’s racial equity commitment focuses on six strategic pillars, including supporting community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and minority depository institutions (MDIs), advancing minority business development, increasing minority homeownership, reducing the digital divide, promoting educational attainment and workforce success for people of color, and promoting racial understanding.
During the pandemic, the needs represented by these priorities, in many cases, grew even more urgent. That’s why Regions Bank and the Regions Foundation committed more than $5 million as part of their overall pandemic response to support nonprofits, small businesses, and, ultimately, individuals – as they worked through the impacts of COVID-19.
“The Regions Foundation is committed to removing barriers to success,” said Marta Self, executive director of the Regions Foundation. “We accomplish this goal when we advance workforce readiness opportunities, when we help business owners succeed, and when we work with our community partners to connect more people with vital resources that empower them to build a more successful future.”
And this work is not limited to Regions Bank and the Regions Foundation. The Regions Community Development Corporation (RCDC) was launched in late 2020 and immediately began complementing the work of the bank and foundation to advance inclusive prosperity. The RCDC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Regions Bank, supports underserved communities facing limited access to traditional sources of capital by providing debt and equity financing for projects and organizations that have a community development purpose.
“The goal of the RCDC is to be a catalyst in revitalizing communities and improving lives,” said David Christian, head of community development lending and investments at Regions Bank and chief operating officer of the Regions Community Development Corporation. “The relationships and investments made possible by these collaborations help further our shared goals to empower communities of color and close the racial wealth gap.”
“Regions Bank operates in over 170 communities, large and small,” Abrahams concluded. “Our focus on inclusive prosperity is designed to uplift the diverse population we serve, creating greater equity and economic inclusion. We’ve made tremendous progress in recent years. And we will make even more in the years to come.”