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Bank of America Spotlights Pandemic Aid to NJ Communities, Citizens and Employees

Bank of America has come to the aid of numerous community organizations this past year – a year like no other. In response to the COVID-19 health crisis and the impact it’s having on New Jersey communities, Alberto Garofalo, New Jersey market president for the financial institution, spotlights a few of these investments.

“Here in New Jersey, we’ve provided more than $4.6 million to local organizations as the community faced unprecedented challenges from the coronavirus. This included a major grant to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey to respond the critical issue of food insecurity,” Garofalo says.  “We supported nearly 60 organizations throughout the state that, from day 1, pivoted to adjust to meet the needs of their clients.

“Additionally, we partnered with several organizations to provide nearly 1 million masks to those who need them most including 400,000 masks earmarked to serve the disabled. All the while, we have continued to support longstanding partners to help them continue their operations, including arts and culture nonprofit organizations.

“In New Jersey that includes organizations like McCarter Theatre Center’s A Christmas Carol @Home and virtual programing at State Theatre, The Newark Museum of Arts and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center,” Garofalo says.

In 2020, Bank of America has:

  • Committed $100 million to support and address pressing needs related to the coronavirus, including healthcare, food, education and needs in vulnerable communities, in addition to the $250 million provided each year in philanthropic giving.
  • Provided more than $250 million in capital to community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and minority depository institutions (MDIs) to facilitate lending through the Paycheck Protection Program, on top of $10 million in philanthropic grants to help fund the operations of CDFIs and MDIs.
  • Made a $1 billion, four-year commitment to help drive racial equality and economic opportunity, focusing particularly on affordable housing, job training/reskilling, support to small business and health. The bank has already directed one-third, or $300 million, of the $1 billion commitment across the U.S. and globally. For instance, it has recently announced efforts with CVS Health to fund a no-cost flu voucher program for under-resourced communities across the U.S., including Black/African American, Native American and Hispanic-Latino populations that may not have access to low- or no-cost preventative flu shots.
  • Donated more than 15 million personal protective equipment (PPE) masks and more than 7,000 cases of sanitizer to vulnerable populations by partnering with local organizations across the country. In the coming weeks, the bank will distribute an additional 5 million masks, 2.5 million pairs of gloves and 160,000, 8-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer to communities most impacted by rising coronavirus cases.

“In Supporting our employeeswe’ve continued our focus on being a great place to work by investing in the health and wellbeing of teammates and their families,” Garofalo says. This includes:

  • Providing no-cost coronavirus testing; no-cost virtual general medicine and behavioral health consults; mental health resources.
  • Provided over 1.7 million days of back-up child and adult care and invested more than $200 million in child and adult care reimbursements through September.
  • Helped our employees manage their stress, build resiliency and avoid burnout, offering new training programs created in partnership with Thrive Global.

Bank of America’s focus also includes its longstanding work to ensure a diverse and inclusive workplace, including:

  • Encouraging employees to talk about what they are experiencing, including helping its teammates have conversations about racial, social and economic injustices, with more than 165,000 employees participating in virtual courageous conversations in the first half of the year alone.
  • Increasing diverse representation in nearly every area of the company, starting with a Board of Directors and management team that are nearly 50% diverse. Within the top three levels of the company, more than 40% are women and nearly 20% are people of color.
  • After just three years, the institution surpassed its five-year goal to hire 10,000 people from low- and moderate-income communities across the country as part of its Pathways Program

This year, the bank has also provided critical financial relief to its clients. This includes: 

  • Supporting nearly 2 million payment deferrals through its Client Assistance Program, including for mortgages, credit cards and auto loans.
  • Helping small businesses access funds through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program. Here in New Jersey the bank has helped more than 14,000 small businesses access $1.2 billion in funding. 
  • Expanded solutions to help clients build financial wellness, by introducing Balance Assist, a new low-cost, short-term loan designed to help clients budget, spend, save and borrow responsibly and achieve financial stability. 
  • Continued focus on affordable homeownership through Community Homeownership Commitment, which includes down payment assistance and closing cost help combined with low down payment mortgages to help low- and moderate-income (LMI) clients buy homes. Since its launch in 2019, it’s helped nearly 13,000 homebuyers with more than $130 million in grants.

“In the first quarter of 2021, I’ll be scheduling additional virtual meetings,” Garofalo says. “These connections are important to me because working with our partners, we’re able to continue to drive responsible growth, invest in our community, support the health and wellbeing of our employees and our neighbors, and meet the financial needs of our clients.”

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

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