How companies have deployed the money is proving to be as crucial as how much they’ve promised, or even how much they’ve given out so far.
Take, for example, Bank of America, which pledged $1.25 billion over five years toward promoting racial justice and creating economic opportunities for all. The centerpiece of its efforts — and where the bulk of the first year’s disbursements have gone — is a novel program to fund minority-owned venture capital firms that back under-represented entrepreneurs.
It was an idea borne out of the notion the bank had to think differently if it wanted to close the racial wealth gap. The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank, the largest in Massachusetts by market share, typically would have just increased the amount of lending to small businesses owned by people of color.
But after convening a diverse group of its executives, among them market presidents and investment bankers, the