Social Conscience and Community Commitment at Truist

Oct 22, 2021 11:00 AM ET
Article

For over a century, Truist and its heritage banks have been known for community service. Our social conscience and commitment are second to none. We’ve staked our future on the purpose of building better lives and communities. We believe that “better” requires setting a new standard: ensuring our business and our social impact are woven seamlessly together.

In a year disrupted by a pandemic, a recession, and personal attacks on people and institutions, caring for each other took on even greater importance. Truist rose to the challenges of the tumultuous year, and we have set an even higher bar for the future despite it. We are fundamentally refocusing and reimagining our approach to philanthropy and are determined to lead in our passion, intention, and impact. 

Heightened impact through focus

Expanding our reach

As regional banks, our heritage organizations each had a long history of giving back to their communities; now, with our combined resources and scale as Truist, we have an even greater opportunity to continue to serve the cities, suburbs, and rural areas where we operate while simultaneously tackling scalable national initiatives that increase our total societal impact. After talking with stakeholders across our communities and carefully listening to their views, we’ve selected four areas of emphasis where Truist—and the Truist Foundation—can drive meaningful change: 

  • Leadership 
  • Educational equity
  • Economic mobility and small business
  • Thriving communities

Truist will prioritize grants and volunteerism efforts toward these important goals. By doing so, we’re confident we will not only live up to our purpose, but we’ll also inspire others to do so.

A force-multiplier for good

Truist has multiple channels and programs through which we help to inspire and build better lives and communities, including the Truist Foundation, the Truist Charitable Fund, the Truist Leadership Institute, the regional giving teams, our Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) team, and the Truist Together volunteerism program. Going forward, our initiatives will align with these four new pillars through a coordinated strategy, leveraging our teammates’ expertise and their close collaboration to drive greater impacts. These focus areas also support federal and local social programs and channel our teammates’ passion to give back. We believe this approach and the alignment among our teams will multiply the benefit generated by our collective time and talent, bringing our corporate purpose to life.

Truist Foundation

Fulfilling our purpose

The Truist Foundation is also committed to Truist Financial Corporation’s purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities. Established in 2020, the foundation makes strategic investments in nonprofit organizations to help ensure the communities it serves have more opportunities for a better quality of life. The Truist Foundation’s grants and activities focus on building career pathways to economic mobility and strengthening small businesses.

In 2020, the Foundation awarded 934 grants totaling $79.8 million. This included coordination for planning and executing major disaster relief initiatives and national partnerships, as well as pandemic relief as part of the substantial Truist Cares initiative, which is described on Page 59. When the racial justice movement began, the Foundation responded quickly to accelerate our support for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, with 53% of our Foundation strategic grants in 2020 serving Black and African American, Hispanic and Latinx, and multiracial individuals and families.

Despite the unforeseen circumstances that arose during 2020, the Truist Foundation continued our heritage banks’ philanthropic legacies, while zeroing in on the changing needs and issues of our communities today and intentionally building the required infrastructure to effectively address them. Importantly, the Truist Foundation recalibrated its strategy to directly impact building career pathways to economic mobility and strengthening small businesses. We are confident that sharpening our focus in this way will help us grow our impact and enact meaningful change on a greater scale. Examples of some of the national nonprofits the Truist Foundation has awarded grants to, as well as the regional and local community nonprofit organizations we support, are outlined in the following pages of this chapter, as well as throughout the report.

Truist Charitable Fund

Broadening our impact

The Truist Charitable Fund, a donor-advised fund, is administered by the Winston-Salem Foundation. The Truist Charitable Fund’s grants benefit those in need under our pillars of educational equity and thriving communities. In 2020, the Truist Charitable Fund awarded 466 grants totaling $80.5 million.7 Several national and regional nonprofits and educational institutions benefited: 

Ron Clark Academy in Southeast Atlanta

The grant seeks to help students, educators, and parents build reading skills, financial literacy, and leadership abilities with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The grant will go toward a professional development education series and the evolution of the House app. The education series on professional development will be for educators and educator-based subscriber communities (students, parents, and individuals), serving LMI populations. The education series will focus on topics that will emphasize the importance of reading skills, financial literacy, leadership strategies, and entrepreneurship. For financial literacy, both students and educators will become more knowledgeable about financial counseling, investments, budget creation, mortgage lending, retirement plans, portfolio diversification, and more. The goal is for students to gain a strong foundation of financial well-being and be more likely to entertain entrepreneurial ventures and business opportunities. For leadership, students will learn how to lead by example; promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace; use technology and innovation; encourage growth and change; understand the value of listening; and more. In addition to the education series, the grant funds will be designated for the strategic expansion of the school’s House System application. In its short lifespan thus far, the House app has already become a valuable technological resource for 200 schools across the nation. The schools subscribed to utilize resources about how to cultivate a positive learning environment and school culture, enhance student engagement, and foster academic excellence.

Junction Business Services Inc.

The grant will support NXT/CLT, a business development accelerator that provides support for startup companies owned by people of color. Specifically, the focus will be on the development of a program to match these entrepreneurs with advisors and partners who can help accelerate their business growth. The grant will provide critical support to operate the NXT/CLT programs, including staffing to support the recruitment, acceptance, onboarding, and retention of companies to participate in the program. The objective of the overall effort is to build a program that at capacity will accelerate growth for 48 companies per year by the second year of the initiative. In addition, there is a desire to provide access to markets and partner companies that would be open to doing business with the participating companies.

The Young Women’s Leadership Academy Foundation

Funding will launch a new public charter school, Montessori Elementary at Highland Park (ME@ HP), which will offer a dynamic, participatory environment that integrates Montessori education with STEAM experiential learning. ME@HP has been intentionally designed to empower young children living in urban core neighborhoods in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to overcome barriers that create stumbling blocks to academic achievement.

Truist Cares 

Supporting our communities

In last year’s CSR Report, we devoted a chapter to Truist Cares8, our $50 million program to support pandemic recovery efforts in 21 states and the District of Columbia. Truist Cares’ giving spanned five broad categories: small business support, senior services, youth services, emergency relief for workers, and technology connection. All of our contributions flowed through nonprofit organizations serving these needs. As part of our Truist Cares initiative, the Truist Charitable Fund donated “charity miles”—$1 to both the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Feeding America for every mile that teammates biked, walked, or ran, up to $1 million. A detailed list of the Truist Cares grants for 2020 can be found on Truist.com. 

Helping workers affected by the pandemic

Truist made donations to partner foundations to help workers affected by closures in the sports and entertainment industries. In March 2020, Truist gave a $250,000 grant to the Atlanta Braves’ Disaster & Hardship Relief Fund to support the needs of hourly workers at Truist Park, CoolToday Park, and each of the team’s minor league baseball facilities during the pandemic. These funds provided relief for 2,253 part-time game staff who were unable to work due to the postponement of the 2020 baseball season, helping the part-time workers and their families to pay for food, housing, and utilities during the crisis. In addition, Truist made donations to assist hourly workers for the Charlotte Knights, Florida Panthers, Georgia Aquarium, Northern Kentucky University, North Carolina A&T University, and Wake Forest University. 

Read the full report here