KeyBank will increase fund for equity, housing to $40B – Mainebiz


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KeyBank will increase its National Community Benefits Plan, which focuses on economic access and equity for underserved communities, from $16.5 billion to $40 billion, the Ohio-based company announced Friday.

The fund surpassed its $16.5 billion goal with $18 billion in investments, including $280 million in Maine. The increased fund will provide $36 billion to support equity and inclusion in housing, small-business lending and philanthropic efforts in underserved neighborhoods, and $4 billion in renewable energy and sustainability.

“Corporate citizenship matters; it matters for our communities, for our clients, and for our colleagues,” Chris Gorman, KeyCorp CEO and president, said in a news release announcing the fund increase. “Delivering on the commitments of our Community Benefits Plan has brought access to capital for neighborhoods and neighbors who have often faced unfair barriers to financial support.”

File photo / Jim Neuger

Chip Kelley, Maine market president of KeyBank

“Doing our part to address social justice and racial equity, increasing environmental concerns, and an international pandemic with disproportionate impact on low- and moderate-income communities is both an opportunity and an obligation,” Gorman said.

“Creating shared value with the communities we serve means facing head on the issues we have long been working to address. These systemic issues must be addressed collectively — inside and outside our company — to drive the outcomes we want to create.”

To implement the Community Benefits Plan, KeyBank will work with community leaders and organizations to develop specific plans for each market it serves across 15 states, the release said. The bank has 43 branches in Maine and has supported such efforts as the Housing First initiative by Avesta Housing and Portland nonprofit Preble Street that helps get homeless Mainers into residences.

“KeyBank has a long-standing commitment to the Maine community,” said Chip Kelley, Maine market president. “We live and work in the communities we serve and have a proven track record of helping clients and communities thrive. KeyBank will work closely with local leaders and organizations throughout Maine to develop comprehensive solutions to the pressing issues of economic disparity, racial equity and climate change.”

Plans for increased fund

“While 2020 has brought significant challenges to our communities and a collective awakening about the injustices people of color face every day in America, these challenges have presented each of us with opportunities to take action and influence change,” said Greg Jones, KeyCorp’s chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer.

He said through the plan, KeyCorp is committed to addressing the issues in ways that provide comprehensive and sustainable social, racial and economic solutions.

The economic and inclusion money will go to affordable housing, mortgages, small business lending and “transformative philanthropy” throughout the markets where the bank does business, the release said. It also will invest in down-payment assistance to support home ownership.

KeyBank will also build partnerships with community development financial institutions focused on serving businesses owned by people who aren’t white, and will develop and deliver financial education in marginalized and low to moderate-income communities.

The updated renewable energy commitment builds on KeyBank’s more than $15 billion in investments. It will increase KeyBank’s renewable energy financing, as well as accelerate the bank’s efforts to reduce the company’s environmental footprint.

The first four years of the plan’s investment in Maine include:

  • More than $68 million invested in affordable housing and community development projects through Evernorth;
  • $59 million in small business loans to businesses that are part of low- and-moderate income communities;
  • $151 million in mortgage lending to low- and moderate-income communities.
  • $2.35 million in philanthropic investments in neighborhoods through grants to nonprofit organizations including Avesta Housing, Preble Street, Maine Medical Center and the United Way of Greater Portland.

The bank’s most recent Maine support included $160,000 to nonprofits for COVID-19 relief and social justice funding and $25,000 to United Way of Greater Portland’s Social Justice Racial Equity Fund. In 2017, it donated $300,000 to the Housing First initiative by Avesta and Preble Street that has resulted in housing for chronically homeless people and other efforts to decrease homelessness.

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