In our Sponsor Spotlight series, CBI highlights our relationships with our sponsors, and the work they are doing to build a more equitable and just community within their own spheres of influence. Today’s Sponsor Spotlight focuses on U.S. Bank.
U.S. Bank has had a presence in the Charlotte market since 2006 and now has around 850 employees here and thousands of customers. As it has expanded its local presence, U.S. Bank has been investing deeply in the community. In the past year, the bank has announced a $4.55 million affordable housing commitment, contributed $1 million toward the public-private Rail Trail bridge project that will connect South End with Uptown and made $250,000 in grants from its Rebuild & Transform Fund to address social and economic inequities. These contributions will benefit Aspire Community Capital, Charlotte LISC and Urban League of Central Carolinas.
Like many, U.S. Bank firmly believes the formula for addressing long-standing and historic racial and income disparities centers on developing and driving long-term system changes. The Minneapolis-based bank has committed to supporting and partnering with those organizations and stakeholders that are crucial to this conversation, including CBI. “We support CBI because its focus on building a more equitable and just Charlotte-Mecklenburg squarely aligns with our efforts of making communities stronger. That said, we fully understand a community’s full strength can only be realized when everyone has fair and equitable opportunities to prosper. The work CBI performs every day is critical to this effort,” said Jeff Gatica, the U.S. Bank community affairs manager for Charlotte.
Gatica continued: “U.S. Bank pursued a partnership with CBI because we value its role in educating stakeholders, elevating conversations and building systems to tackle racial and income inequities. Over the past two years, we sponsored CBI’s Stakeholders Breakfast but moving into 2021 we are also looking forward to engaging bank employees in educational opportunities such as community tours, leadership training and in-house conversations around the issues of equity.”
Diversity has always been and continues to be a core value and a business imperative at U.S. Bank. The diversity work at U.S. Bank was historically part of the company’s human resources department, and in more recent years part of corporate social responsibility. In 2020, the role of Chief Diversity Officer was elevated to the company’s managing committee, reporting directly to the CEO. As part of this elevation, DEI is embedded into U.S. Bank’s leadership expectations and drives accountability at all levels of the company. For example, inclusive management is a core leadership behavior that is evaluated during performance reviews.
“We need to be more intentional about creating conditions in which all of our employees can develop leadership, demonstrate creativity and advance professionally,” Greg Cunningham, Chief Diversity Officer for U.S. Bank, said. “We are steadfast in our commitment to placing equal value on the potential contributions, unique leadership skills and creativity that come with the Black experience. We are making progress but need to continue to improve in this area.”
Following the tragic death of George Floyd in its headquarters city in 2020, U.S. Bank made a $116 million commitment to address racial and economic inequities. The components include $100 million in annual capital to Black-owned or led businesses, a commitment to doubling Black suppliers over the next 12 months, $1 million in grants to Black-led Community Development Financial Institutions and the $15 million Rebuild and Transform Fund.
Going forward, a major focus of U.S. Bank is bridging the racial wealth gap that creates barriers to socioeconomic mobility for Black individuals, families and communities and constrains the U.S. economy as a whole – resulting in $1-1.5 trillion in lost economic output. In its role as a financial institution, U.S. Bank recognizes it has an opportunity to help close the 10:1 racial wealth gap. U.S. Bank plans to take a unified approach across its business lines to stand up a series of signature initiatives that help build wealth while redefining how the bank serves diverse communities and provides more opportunities for diverse employees.