Reba Dominski, Chief Social Responsibility Officer and President, U.S. Bank Foundation

The best part of my job is helping our 70,000 employees make decisions that are good for the business, people and the planet. Fortunately, at U.S. Bank, we are operating from a position of strength, anchored by our strong ethical culture, which has resulted in being named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute for the sixth consecutive year.

U.S. Bank employees using their paid volunteer time off.

Our unified giving and engagement strategy, Community Possible, focuses on closing the gaps between people and possibility in the areas of Work, Home and Play.

That is 915 hours per day, getting us three-fourths of the way to our 100% engagement goal.

In 2019, we invested in programs and initiatives focused on creating economic opportunity for underserved communities.

This included investing $1 million in the Chicago Entrepreneurs of Color Fund supporting small businesses, which are the engine of growth in many communities. In fact, at year end 2019, we had $2 billion in small business administration loans across the country. We continue to help people become financially secure through products like Simple Loan, a small dollar loan product, booking more than 25,000 customers since it launched in 2018. We also helped connect communities through investments like the Charlotte Rail Trail, a pedestrian bridge, providing residents easier and safer access from one downtown to the other.

We invested $1 million in the Charlotte Rail Trail project as part of our entrance into the Charlotte community.

Our investment in diversity, equity and inclusion is a business imperative and core to our culture. In 2019, we invested $1 million in the National Museum of African American History and Culture. We also launched efforts inside our organization to make diversity, equity and inclusion part of every leaders’ performance expectations. Our Chairman, President and CEO, Andy Cecere, became a CEO Champion for Change in partnership with Catalyst, a global nonprofit working with some of the world’s most powerful CEOs and leading companies to build workplaces that work for women, as we work to advance the careers of women. Andy chairs our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council and our Business Resource Groups, which include 110 chapters in the United States and five countries. Our advancements in this area were recognized in 2019 by DiversityInc®, as we were named for the first time a Top 50 Company for Diversity.

Promoting sustainability while supporting economic growth.

We continue our work in environmental sustainability, reaching a significant milestone in 2019 of financing more than 10 gigawatts of solar installations across the country. In fact, U.S. Bank – through its subsidiary, U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC) – finances about 15% of all solar installations in the United States annually via tax equity financing. Since 2008, USBCDC has invested more than $11 billion in Renewable Energy Tax Credit projects to achieve the 10-gigawatt milestone.

We are proud of what we have accomplished, but expectations continue to rise. Data shows that key stakeholders are asking companies to do more: 86% of consumers expect companies to do more than make a profit, 92% of millennials believe that working for an environmentally and socially responsible company is important, and 64% of consumers “buy” based on shared values and beliefs with brands which is up 13% from the previous year1.

Data also reflects the growing disparities in our country: women make 77% of what men make for doing the same job; the top 10% of this country holds 76% of the wealth and for every $100 of white wealth, African American families have $5.041.

In the words of my hero, Maya Angelou, “once you know better, you do better.” We are going to do better, moving beyond philanthropy to mobilize all business lines and bring the full resources of the bank, including our investments, our products and services, and the expertise of all our employees, to help remove barriers and make a difference in the most underserved communities.

As part of our investment in the Pullman community, we have attracted other businesses like Method Soap to build factories in the area creating employment opportunities.

We are working to drive greater social impact in many ways.

We want more products like Simple Loan and Safe Debit, which provide access to capital for those who need small dollar loans and non-traditional bank accounts. We are partnering with our Customer Experience team, our Community Advisory Committee, a group of 15 nonprofit leaders who provide perspective, feedback and insights to U.S. Bank, and other key partners to understand the biggest opportunities and drive greater access to capital in underserved communities.

We want to make more place-based investments like the one in the Pullman community on the South Side of Chicago, where we have combined our philanthropic and business investments and invested $113 million over the last decade creating over 1,500 permanent jobs, 1.5 million square feet of construction and 200 affordable housing units. As a result of our investment, we have attracted other businesses like Whole Foods, Walmart and Method Soap. When you add our leverage to additional public and private investments, the total goes up to $246 million attracted since 2010. During that same time period, crime rates have decreased by 52%2 and graduation rates are up 10%3.

Each year, our senior leaders, including CEO Andy Cecere, volunteer together – last year they helped build a Habitat for Humanity home in Minneapolis.

In 2019, we launched a research project in partnership with the University of Chicago and nonprofit Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives to create a case study on our investments in the Pullman community. We want to learn from this holistic bank approach to economic development, so we can consider expansion of place-based investment strategies.

Our work in Pullman(opens new window) was highlighted in our advertising in 2019, which features Jalen, a 16-year-old resident of Pullman and directed by Rodney Lucas, a native of the South Side of Chicago. It was important to us to tell the story of Pullman through its greatest assets: its people.

Our approach also includes Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting, to share how we are approaching business risks and opportunities. Following our materiality assessment with Ceres, we have identified five key priority areas for U.S. Bank: data security and privacy, ethical conduct, fair and responsible products and services, human capital management and climate impact. We have established working groups focusing on strategy, disclosure and environmental and social risk management, and will work hard to make forward progress.

We are also working to establish external goals to engage, inspire and guide our work.

We know we do not have all of the answers and we will continue to work with, and through, our partners, using data and insights to guide our strategy while remembering that behind every data point, is a heartbeat.

Sincerely,

Reba Dominski
Chief Social Responsibility Officer
President of the U.S. Bank Foundation