The nation's second largest bank is contributing $1 billion to the fight against racial inequality.
Bank of America announced the donation Tuesday, as the country continues to grapple with the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. According to the bank's press release, the $1 billion will benefit communities of color over the next four years, with the money going towards a number of different areas such as, employee recruitments, jobs training, support to small businesses, housing aid, and the expansion of health services like vaccination clinics.
"Underlying economic and social disparities that exist have accelerated and intensified during the global pandemic," Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said in a press release. "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. We all need to do more."
The global health crisis has led to more dialogue around the economic racial disparities that have plagued the nation for generations. According to a number of studies, COVID-19 has disproportionately affected black communities—not only in respect to infection and casualty rates, but also to economic pain caused by the government-mandated shutdowns. The issue of racial inequality and injustice has been further underscored over the past week, as the nation endures civil unrest over the death of George Floyd—a 46-year-old black man who was killed by Minneapolis police on Memorial Day.
Though Bank of America's press release didn't mention the protests over Floyd's murder, Moynihan is among the handful of Wall Street CEOs who have addressed the ongoing racial injustices within law enforcement.
"We share a deep sense of pain and loss from what we are seeing and experiencing right now in many of our local communities. Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other fellow citizens have died in deeply tragic circumstances," he wrote in a company letter. "Many of you have shared with me your own expressions of anguish and anger about what has happened and how it is playing out across the country. I have listened and learned from all of you ... All of these engagements have helped me better understand how these tragedies affect communities of color, and the historical roots of those feelings."
He added: "... As the backdrop for all of this, we reaffirm our values. We will not tolerate racism in any form. The racial injustice we see today, which many of you and your families experience all too often, is unacceptable to all of us. I thank teammates for the thoughtful notes shared with me and with my team, and for your leadership. We will take care of each other and we will work to make a difference."