Investing at the intersection of social impact and social enterprise
You may know them as one of the country’s largest financial institutions. But Bank of America (BAC) is also one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the country. With $200 million invested in communities last year, Bank of America has supported more than 3,000 organizations around the country including REDF. According to Dannielle Campos, Senior Vice President and National Philanthropy Director at Bank of America’s Charitable Foundation, the company makes strategic investments at the intersection of “social impact investing and social enterprise.”
Since 2008, Bank of America has supported REDF, beginning with a $250,000 grant to identify and develop new social enterprises in emerging sectors like “green collar jobs.” REDF commissioned a report to identify the most promising industries that could not only employ those facing the greatest barriers to work, but could do so where there was true market demand for those goods and services. Through Bank of America’s support, REDF invested in social enterprises that did recycling, e-waste collection, and green urban maintenance. “It was a home run for us,” Campos says.
To make an even greater impact, Bank of America wants to move beyond funding individual initiatives and use its donations to leverage programs that scale nationally. “We asked REDF, ‘How can we develop the market to support social enterprise?’ Campos says. “We want to be in front of the national movement in a meaningful way. From a practitioner’s standpoint REDF and SE4Jobs is informing the field, bringing its investing experience and best practices. As a bank invested in communities across the country, we want to be part of the solution
As REDF becomes a leader in the national social enterprise movement, the company has increased its funding. A new grant of $500,000 supports SE4Jobs as it builds a national network of social enterprise organizations that can influence policy and shape a national program to end chronic joblessness.
Bank of America’s commitment to social enterprise is also demonstrated through its Support Services division which has been delivering trusted, in-house graphic arts, fulfillment and distribution services to partners across the company for nearly 20 years. Support Services employs more than 300 individuals with intellectual challenges and provides an environment in which these Bank of America employees can realize their full potential every day.
Working together, Campos says, REDF and Bank of America “can play a role in advancing the local economy, but do it on a national scale. That is really appealing to us as a company.”
Visit Bank of America’s Charitable Foundation website, here.