By Ryan Velez
Black History Month is coming to a close, but there’s no reason to stop the celebrations. Rolling Out reports that U.S. Bank is keeping things going by empowering businesses and recognizing them through their annual Black History Month program.
Greg Cunningham, VP, and head of diversity and inclusion was one of the many high-level U.S. Bank officials who were present and willing to reach out to the community during this moment to ensure that African Americans have access to lenders.
The bank also hosted a panel featuring a wide range of professionals that explained how having a financial institution in your corner is essential to your success. Some of the professionals present for the panel included Kenneth J. Scales of The Bow Tie Billionaire Beard Oil, Jasmine McConnell of Butters by Jay, and Shakeeta Sturden of Makeup by Catwalkfierce. These young professionals were able to learn and get the banking expertise they needed because U.S. Bank has a dedicated program and outreach to the African American community.
Several executives for U.S. Bank were present as well. Jennie Carlson, EVP of human resources, Greg Cunningham, VP and head of diversity and inclusion; Ken Charles, SVP of global talent strategy; and Hector E. Martinez, VP, supplier diversity. This is a widespread of people, showing that this isn’t just a token effort to get some good press, but a serious attempt to help an underserved group get the financial support and products they need.
This is important because Black entrepreneurs, in many ways, have a steeper slope to getting their businesses off the ground than other ethnic groups. Having the lowest amount of generational wealth, they can’t rely on family members for support a lot of the time. In addition, studies show that it is more difficult for Black people to get and compete for loans and grants compared to other groups. At the same time, Black businesses are a crucial way to uplift communities and often create more jobs for black people. The efforts of institutions like these are an important way to bridge the gap and give that helping hand. Hopefully, we see more of it soon.