Bank of America (BofA) announced its commitment of equity investments totaling more than $500 million to minority- and women-led funds. This commitment more than doubled its initial $200 million commitment.
In the past, Bank of America has also invested in women by partnering with Chloe Capital to support women entrepreneurs getting early stage funding, and in people of color by advancing racial equity by their investment to Elevate Capital. This time, the bank has committed equity investments to more than 150 diverse funds. These funds, to date, have invested in over 1,000 companies that span 40 states. These companies are led by 1,500 entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and employ over 21,000 people.
Where are the equity investments going to?
“We work across our company to address critical needs in our communities, including the lack of access to capital that diverse business owners face as they start or grow their businesses,” said Tram Nguyen. Nguyen is the Global Head of Strategic and Sustainable Investments at Bank of America. “We want to empower the talented fund managers who keenly understand how to identify and support those business owners. Each time we support a minority- or women-led fund, they in turn support diverse entrepreneurs, which ultimately helps us toward achieving our goal to advance racial equality and economic opportunity.”
Not only are fund managers breaking down barriers themselves, but they are also investing in companies looking to catalyze change. Nasir Qadree, founder of Zeal, graduated from Historically Black College and University (HBCU). Through his experiences, Qadree founded Zeal to provide overlooked founders with the resources they need to scale their businesses. This includes being an early investor in Esusu, now one of the few Black-owned unicorns, which provides tools to help immigrants and minorities to provide rent reporting and data solutions for credit building.
Chingona Ventures, led by General Partner Samara Hernandez, was the only active fund in the Midwest started and led by a Latina at the time of Bank of America’s investment. The fund targets founders with unique backgrounds who create businesses in oft-overlooked markets, like Papaya, a bilingual STEM tutoring organization to close the educational gap for underserved students.
BofA continues to innovate resources for entrepreneurs and small business owners to fuel economic growth in their communities. More on Bank of America’s work in supporting diverse funds and entrepreneurs can be found here.
About Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations. Their provisions include a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 68 million consumer and small business clients. These clients include approximately 3,900 retail financial centers, 15,000 ATMs and digital banking with 56 million verified digital users. Globally, BofA leads in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes. BofA offers support to approximately three million small business households through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) appears on the New York Stock Exchange.
Curious about more initiatives to level the playing field? Read about the ongoing fight for gender and race equity in venture capital here.