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Bank of America on What Makes A Trailblazer

As the recipient of the Trailblazer Award at The 8th Annual Cara Gala, we sat down with our friends at Bank of America ahead of our signature event to gain their insight on a few key topics.

On what makes a Trailblazer…

A trailblazer is one who takes a risk, leads by example or can be an innovator, however, we know we are not alone in making progress. Receiving this prestigious award and its recognition from Cara Collective says we have formed great alliances to set the paths of awareness and solutions to challenges our communities face. In this journey, we have like-minded individuals and organizations joining us in a collective drive to improve the quality of life in our communities.

On the role and responsibility companies have today…

At Bank of America, we deliver for our teammates, clients, and shareholders and help address society’s biggest challenges. Building on our longstanding work to advance racial equality and economic opportunity, and in order to ensure everyone has access to the tools and resources needed to build wealth, we’re focused on connecting people to good jobs, ensuring access to adequate health care and capital to grow their small business, and providing a solid base of affordable housing.

Globally, whether in our workplace and the markets we serve, we remain focused on expanding and supporting opportunities for women, veterans, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community and other underserved groups. We support diversity and inclusion because it helps ensure that everyone has the chance to build a solid financial future. It also strengthens communities and organizations by bringing together broader perspectives and backgrounds.

We create an inclusive company by offering benefits and programs that help recruit, retain, and advance a diverse workforce. This includes everything from industry-leading benefits to same-sex couples for over 20 years to programs that develop the careers of talented women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities. And in our communities, we advocate for inclusion while offering outreach and education that expands financial opportunity for diverse groups.

“Globally, we remain focused on expanding and supporting opportunities.”

On how they are advancing racial equality and economic opportunity…

We remain committed to our continued focus on building an inclusive workforce and neighborhood investments in businesses of color. These pillars remain core to our philanthropic and investment efforts. The size and scope of our commitments have grown over time:

  • From a funding perspective, Bank of America significantly amplified our commitment to Advancing Racial Equity and Economic Opportunity and our (affordable) Homeownership Commitment, both of which have created positive opportunities and impacts in our Chicago communities.
  • While the announcement of the Bank’s $1.25B commitment in 2020 was a pivotal moment, the corresponding work is a continuation of the Bank’s longstanding and multifaceted efforts to drive economic mobility for individuals, families, and communities.
  • Our recent work focuses on addressing and advancing social issues in minority populations, such as health, jobs, education, housing, and capital inequality, and will facilitate benefits in communities across the country. Upwards of 80% of the Bank’s grantmaking in Chicago correlates with this pledge.

On where they align with Cara Collective’s mission and values…

Workforce development, job creation, and access to health and housing services are some of the most pressing needs facing Black and Hispanic-Latino individuals and Bank of America believes by providing support to partners like Cara Collective, we are further addressing many of the challenges facing under-resourced and underserved communities, locally and across the U.S.

“We support diversity and inclusion because it ensures everyone has the chance to build a solid financial future.”

On what makes a worthy investment in time, talent, and treasure…

We promote economic mobility with multiple programs and partnerships that cover communities around the country and abroad, too. We help nonprofits and local leaders grow the great work they do creating holistic change — everything from workforce development to affordable housing to small business support. To strengthen families’ financial standing, we teach relevant money topics to people in person and online.

Also, we encourage our employees to get involved in charitable pursuits with paid time off, various volunteer opportunities and a matching gifts program. With thousands of employees around the world, the impact that they make really adds up.

The 8th Annual Cara Gala takes place Friday, March 24. Limited tickets and sponsorships are remaining. Learn more about our honorees, speakers and more at www.caragala.org.