Issue 27: 2014

Corporate Social Responsibilty

Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment

At Bank of America, we are serious about the future of women worldwide, and in our company.

Photographs by Getty Images

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Over the past several years, through conversations with customers, clients, shareholders and its own employees, Bank of America has learned a great deal about the role business should play in addressing societal challenges. As a result, the firm’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) philosophy has become a key element of its ongoing transformation to a new business model based on deepening relationships with clients, customers and communities.

Part of this philosophy is a focus on strategic partnerships, in recognition of the fact that no single person or entity can effectively address the many challenges facing the global community. Bank of America is combining its scale with its partners’ expertise to increase the impact of its efforts. The bank’s global investment in women’s economic potential, and its work with key partners in this space, is one demonstration of this philosophy.


Gloria Kamanzi Uwizera, a mentee in the Cherie Blair Mentoring Women in Business Programme,
displays her handmade products.
Photograph by Tom Gilks

 

Women play a significant role in advancing economic growth within their communities and in the global economy. According to the World Economic Forum, women account for half of the potential talent base throughout the world, and therefore, over time, a nation’s economic competitiveness depends on whether and how it educates its women and uses their talents. With this in mind, the bank is helping to connect women to the human, social and financial capital they need to maximize their economic potential, enrich their lives and those of their families and communities, and create stronger economies.

Financial capital: products, loans and investments
that help meet women’s needs

Beyond the direct financing of women-owned small businesses, the bank works with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to provide funding and technical assistance to women entrepreneurs leading small and early-stage businesses. As the largest investor in CDFIs, Bank of America provides $1.2 billion to CDFIs in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

Andrew Plepler on Women’s Empowerment and U.S. Trust Click to expand

 

Andrew Plepler, Global Corporate Social Responsibility Executive


“Through partnerships and programs, we leverage our capabilities and the power of a global platform to help partners, people and communities more effectively address a wide range of critical social concerns and challenges. Women’s economic empowerment has strong positive impacts for economies and communities, which is why we’re bringing the capabilities of our entire company to support women’s economic advancement in the United States and around the world.”

 

Earlier this year, Elizabeth Street Capital, an initiative by the Tory Burch Foundation and Bank of America, was launched to support emerging women entrepreneurs in the United States. Bank of America provided $10 million to help women small business owners grow their businesses, with additional funds for operating expenses shared by the bank and Tory Burch Foundation. Elizabeth Street Capital provides women entrepreneurs with access to affordable loans through local nonprofit loan centers (or CDFIs), mentoring workshops and networking opportunities. The program is currently available in Boston, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, San Francisco, North Carolina, New York and New Jersey, with plans to add additional locations over the next two years.

The bank also announced a $10 million investment in Calvert Foundation to make loans to organizations that support women in developing countries throughout Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. These organizations positively affect women in a number of ways, from connecting women-led small-to-medium enterprises with financing, to providing access to services and products.


Tom Montag, co-chief operating officer, Bank of America, Tory Burch, designer and founder of the Tory Burch Foundation;
Andrew Plepler, Corporate Social Responsibility executive, Bank of America.
Photograph by Noa Griffel

 

Through U.S. Trust, the bank provides the Women and Wealth offering, which addresses specific planning issues associated with managing wealth for women. The offering addresses needs for life events such as the death of a spouse, divorce, caring for an aging loved one or implementing a philanthropic vision for one’s family — things that frequently have profound effects on women’s financial lives.

The proprietary U.S. Trust socially responsible investing platform, Socially Innovative Investing (S2I), has continued to grow, with new investment strategies for clients, including a focus on women’s and girls’ equality. U.S. Trust enables socially responsible private equity investments for clients, focused on women business owners, and the Supplier Diversity and Development Program ensures that U.S. Trust seeks products and services from diverse businesses, including women-owned businesses.

Tory Burch on her foundation and partnership with Bank of America Click to expand

 

Tory Burch, designer and founder of the Tory Burch Foundation


“When we launched our foundation in 2009, we understood that women entrepreneurs needed access to capital and business networks. Our Elizabeth Street Capital initiative with Bank of America takes our commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs to a new level. By providing affordable loans, mentoring support and networking opportunities, we are helping women to grow their businesses and create jobs, which benefits their families, their communities and the economy.”

 

From a giving standpoint, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation provides grants to nonprofits to address issues of community development, workforce development and education, and basic human services. As heads of households, and often single-parent families, women are significant beneficiaries of services provided by these nonprofits, and last year the bank funded $71 million to help women access affordable housing, connect to jobs, and secure food on the table for their families.

Human capital: mentoring and education to
empower women leaders

The Global Ambassadors Program, a partnership with Vital Voices, connects women leaders from countries around the world with established women executives from a range of businesses, including Bank of America, for one-on-one mentoring. Since 2012, mentoring forums have been held in Brazil, Haiti, India, Mexico, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa and Northern Ireland. With Vital Voices, the bank has convened hundreds of women to discuss opportunities for leadership, addressing economic issues facing mentees’ countries and engaging clients and regional influencers in dialogue to advance women’s leadership. These efforts have been further amplified by numerous local mentoring partnerships in the United States and worldwide.


Participants in The Global Ambassadors Program, a Bank of America and
Vital Voices partnership, work on a presentation during a trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Photograph courtesy of Bank of America

 

Bank of America is also working with the Cherie Blair Foundation, which invests in women entrepreneurs through mentoring. The foundation has enabled more than 800 women who are small business leaders to connect with mentors for insight on building their enterprises and developing marketing, communications and business development skills. Nearly 150 mentors from Bank of America are participating in the Mentoring Women in Business Programme, which uses online technology sharing to enable women to impart their expertise with women in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East.

Social capital: investing in
the bank’s employee women leaders

Bank of America’s employee resource group, Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Development (LEAD) for Women, helps grow, attract and retain successful women by offering them opportunities to share best practices and cultivate connections. Forums also focus on women’s leadership and networking, such as the Women’s Exchange in the Global Wealth and Investment Management group with 47 chapters enterprise-wide, the Women’s Leadership Council in the Global Banking and Markets group, and Women in Technology and Operations in the Global Technology and Operations group.


Susan Thrasher, of Bank of America Global Technology & Operations,
mentors Dr. Deqo Aden Mohamed, CEO, Dr. Hawa Abdi Foundation, Somalia.
Photograph courtesy of Bank of America

 

As a three-year partner with the Women in the World Summit, which brings together more than 2,500 women thought leaders for networking and sharing of best practices, Bank of America is helping to shine a light on the challenges women face worldwide. The bank has also played a key role in building networks among women leaders at the World Economic Forum’s Women Leaders and Gender Parity Program and National Women’s Health Summit in Boston, which highlights the need for greater focus on women in healthcare data collection and development of medical treatments.

Rena DeSisto on connecting women business leadersClick to expand

In addition, the bank partners with the Columbia Business School to offer the Greater Returns Columbia Women’s Leadership Program, as well as a variety of global and national organizations that support diversity and inclusion efforts, including attracting top talent to the company. Partners here include the Asia Women’s Society, Catalyst, the Financial Women’s Association, the Multicultural Women’s Council, the National Association for Female Executives, and Women in Banking and Finance.

To learn more, visit bankofamerica.com/women.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Some of the featured participants are not employees of U.S. Trust. The opinions and conclusions expressed are not necessarily those of U.S. Trust or its personnel.

Over the past several years, through conversations with customers, clients, shareholders and its own employees, Bank of America has learned a great deal about the role business should play in addressing societal challenges. As a result, the firm’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) philosophy has become a key element of its ongoing transformation to a new business model based on deepening relationships with clients, customers and communities.

Part of this philosophy is a focus on strategic partnerships, in recognition of the fact that no single person or entity can effectively address the many challenges facing the global community. Bank of America is combining its scale with its partners’ expertise to increase the impact of its efforts. The bank’s global investment in women’s economic potential, and its work with key partners in this space, is one demonstration of this philosophy.


Gloria Kamanzi Uwizera, a mentee in the Cherie Blair Mentoring Women in Business Programme,
displays her handmade products.
Photograph by Tom Gilks

 

Women play a significant role in advancing economic growth within their communities and in the global economy. According to the World Economic Forum, women account for half of the potential talent base throughout the world, and therefore, over time, a nation’s economic competitiveness depends on whether and how it educates its women and uses their talents. With this in mind, the bank is helping to connect women to the human, social and financial capital they need to maximize their economic potential, enrich their lives and those of their families and communities, and create stronger economies.

Financial capital: products, loans and investments
that help meet women’s needs

Beyond the direct financing of women-owned small businesses, the bank works with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to provide funding and technical assistance to women entrepreneurs leading small and early-stage businesses. As the largest investor in CDFIs, Bank of America provides $1.2 billion to CDFIs in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

Andrew Plepler on Women’s Empowerment and U.S. Trust Click to expand

 

Andrew Plepler, Global Corporate Social Responsibility Executive


“Through partnerships and programs, we leverage our capabilities and the power of a global platform to help partners, people and communities more effectively address a wide range of critical social concerns and challenges. Women’s economic empowerment has strong positive impacts for economies and communities, which is why we’re bringing the capabilities of our entire company to support women’s economic advancement in the United States and around the world.”

 

Earlier this year, Elizabeth Street Capital, an initiative by the Tory Burch Foundation and Bank of America, was launched to support emerging women entrepreneurs in the United States. Bank of America provided $10 million to help women small business owners grow their businesses, with additional funds for operating expenses shared by the bank and Tory Burch Foundation. Elizabeth Street Capital provides women entrepreneurs with access to affordable loans through local nonprofit loan centers (or CDFIs), mentoring workshops and networking opportunities. The program is currently available in Boston, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, San Francisco, North Carolina, New York and New Jersey, with plans to add additional locations over the next two years.

The bank also announced a $10 million investment in Calvert Foundation to make loans to organizations that support women in developing countries throughout Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. These organizations positively affect women in a number of ways, from connecting women-led small-to-medium enterprises with financing, to providing access to services and products.


Tom Montag, co-chief operating officer, Bank of America, Tory Burch, designer and founder of the Tory Burch Foundation;
Andrew Plepler, Corporate Social Responsibility executive, Bank of America.
Photograph by Noa Griffel

 

Through U.S. Trust, the bank provides the Women and Wealth offering, which addresses specific planning issues associated with managing wealth for women. The offering addresses needs for life events such as the death of a spouse, divorce, caring for an aging loved one or implementing a philanthropic vision for one’s family — things that frequently have profound effects on women’s financial lives.

The proprietary U.S. Trust socially responsible investing platform, Socially Innovative Investing (S2I), has continued to grow, with new investment strategies for clients, including a focus on women’s and girls’ equality. U.S. Trust enables socially responsible private equity investments for clients, focused on women business owners, and the Supplier Diversity and Development Program ensures that U.S. Trust seeks products and services from diverse businesses, including women-owned businesses.

Tory Burch on her foundation and partnership with Bank of America Click to expand

 

Tory Burch, designer and founder of the Tory Burch Foundation


“When we launched our foundation in 2009, we understood that women entrepreneurs needed access to capital and business networks. Our Elizabeth Street Capital initiative with Bank of America takes our commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs to a new level. By providing affordable loans, mentoring support and networking opportunities, we are helping women to grow their businesses and create jobs, which benefits their families, their communities and the economy.”

 

From a giving standpoint, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation provides grants to nonprofits to address issues of community development, workforce development and education, and basic human services. As heads of households, and often single-parent families, women are significant beneficiaries of services provided by these nonprofits, and last year the bank funded $71 million to help women access affordable housing, connect to jobs, and secure food on the table for their families.

Human capital: mentoring and education to
empower women leaders

The Global Ambassadors Program, a partnership with Vital Voices, connects women leaders from countries around the world with established women executives from a range of businesses, including Bank of America, for one-on-one mentoring. Since 2012, mentoring forums have been held in Brazil, Haiti, India, Mexico, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa and Northern Ireland. With Vital Voices, the bank has convened hundreds of women to discuss opportunities for leadership, addressing economic issues facing mentees’ countries and engaging clients and regional influencers in dialogue to advance women’s leadership. These efforts have been further amplified by numerous local mentoring partnerships in the United States and worldwide.


Participants in The Global Ambassadors Program, a Bank of America and
Vital Voices partnership, work on a presentation during a trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Photograph courtesy of Bank of America

 

Bank of America is also working with the Cherie Blair Foundation, which invests in women entrepreneurs through mentoring. The foundation has enabled more than 800 women who are small business leaders to connect with mentors for insight on building their enterprises and developing marketing, communications and business development skills. Nearly 150 mentors from Bank of America are participating in the Mentoring Women in Business Programme, which uses online technology sharing to enable women to impart their expertise with women in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East.

Social capital: investing in
the bank’s employee women leaders

Bank of America’s employee resource group, Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Development (LEAD) for Women, helps grow, attract and retain successful women by offering them opportunities to share best practices and cultivate connections. Forums also focus on women’s leadership and networking, such as the Women’s Exchange in the Global Wealth and Investment Management group with 47 chapters enterprise-wide, the Women’s Leadership Council in the Global Banking and Markets group, and Women in Technology and Operations in the Global Technology and Operations group.


Susan Thrasher, of Bank of America Global Technology & Operations,
mentors Dr. Deqo Aden Mohamed, CEO, Dr. Hawa Abdi Foundation, Somalia.
Photograph courtesy of Bank of America

 

As a three-year partner with the Women in the World Summit, which brings together more than 2,500 women thought leaders for networking and sharing of best practices, Bank of America is helping to shine a light on the challenges women face worldwide. The bank has also played a key role in building networks among women leaders at the World Economic Forum’s Women Leaders and Gender Parity Program and National Women’s Health Summit in Boston, which highlights the need for greater focus on women in healthcare data collection and development of medical treatments.

Rena DeSisto on connecting women business leadersClick to expand

In addition, the bank partners with the Columbia Business School to offer the Greater Returns Columbia Women’s Leadership Program, as well as a variety of global and national organizations that support diversity and inclusion efforts, including attracting top talent to the company. Partners here include the Asia Women’s Society, Catalyst, the Financial Women’s Association, the Multicultural Women’s Council, the National Association for Female Executives, and Women in Banking and Finance.

To learn more, visit bankofamerica.com/women.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Some of the featured participants are not employees of U.S. Trust. The opinions and conclusions expressed are not necessarily those of U.S. Trust or its personnel.