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U.S. Bank invests $450,000 in Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs

May 04, 2021

Employees will provide on-site counsel and guidance on financial, payments, technology and innovation topics.

U.S. Bank is providing a three-year, $450,000 investment in the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE), an Atlanta-based organization dedicated to empowering Black entrepreneurs and small business owners.

RICE is the largest business incubation hub in the United States dedicated exclusively to developing Black entrepreneurs. In addition to the grant, U.S. Bank employees will provide education and inspiration to emerging entrepreneurs who are seeking counsel in the areas of finance, technology, payments and innovation. 

“Our support of the Russell Center is consistent with the U.S. Bank Access Commitment, a long-term approach to building wealth and providing access in diverse communities,” said Jamie Walker, CEO of Elavon, and head of merchant payments at U.S. Bank. “U.S. Bank is committed to empowering business owners and investing in opportunities that help create systemic change.”

Access includes a series of initiatives from across our business to help close the 10:1 racial wealth gap in the United States. All initiatives share a focus on delivering innovative products, services and transformative customer and employee experiences that will ultimately increase wealth for diverse communities, starting with the Black community.  

“We are honored to partner with U.S. Bank and Elavon to bring fundamental changes to the Atlanta Black Business community,” said RICE CEO Jay Bailey. “We are grateful to the executive sponsorship team, led by Terra Wallace, who understood our vision at the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship from day one. This partnership is more than a financial investment; it is about long-term commitment of U.S. Bank to supporting our businesses in our community with the access, resources, and skilled counsel needed to win.”

U.S. Bank has a strong presence in Atlanta and has supported the community for more than 20 years through its Elavon business. This investment in Black business owners through RICE is among the largest the company has committed in the greater Atlanta area. 

“We believe investment is more than financial resources,” said Terra Wallace, who is one of the executive sponsors of the program for U.S. Bank. “Investing means sharing our knowledge in addition to our dollars. Leaders from across the company will provide insights, guidance and recommendations to businesses that are getting their start or growing through the Russell Center.”

Wallace and Rabia Nelson are executive sponsors of the partnership. Samuel Thurman is the relationship manager. Supporting U.S. Bank partners include the Atlanta chapter of the U.S. Bank Black Heritage Business Resource Group, Atlanta Black Leadership Council, Innovation team (Doug Nielsen) and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion division (Maxine Swayne).

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