Bank of America pledges $1 billion over 4 years to fight racial inequality

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Bank of America pledged to donate $1 billion over the next four years to address economic and racial inequality that’s has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic.

The funds will be directed to programs that focus on health, jobs, small businesses and housing, particularly in communities with many people of color, the bank said in a statement. Those efforts may include virus testing and other health services, partnerships with colleges, support for small minority-owned businesses and recruitment in disadvantaged communities.

“It’s crushing to see this level of civil unrest and the deep wounds in our society,” Vice Chairman Anne Finucane said in an interview Tuesday after meeting with the company’s black and Latino employee groups. “It’s a very raw moment, but you have to engage.”

Executives from almost every major bank and investment firm have spoken out about the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police last week. Floyd’s killing and other fatal police encounters have sparked global protests, as well as violence and looting in the U.S. In the finance industry, it’s prompted discussions about racism and whether companies are doing enough to improve diversity in their workforces and business dealings.

“The events of the past week have created a sense of true urgency that has arisen across our nation, particularly in view of the racial injustices we have seen in the communities where we work and live,” Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said in the statement. “We all need to do more.”

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank’s latest pledge follows a March announcement that it would give $100 million to support populations hurt by the coronavirus.

Bloomberg News