We believe the building blocks of all thriving communities where all things are possible include: stable employment, a home to call your own and a community connected through the arts, culture and recreation. Through Community Possible, we focus our efforts to create stable jobs, better homes and vibrant communities: Work, Home and Play.
And, in our communities, doing the right thing is what fuels us to revitalize neighborhoods, educate the public about their finances, help fulfill dreams of homeownership and empower our employees to serve their communities.
Strong small businesses and an educated workforce ensure the prosperity of our communities. We support programs that help small businesses thrive, people succeed in the workforce and gain financial literacy, and provide pathways to higher education. To this end, in 2016, we gave $8.2 million in Work grants and built partnerships with several nonprofit organizations providing financial and career-readiness support to ensure students have the tools to further their education and acquire skills to successfully transition to the workforce.
BankWork$ is a partner of Goodwill Industries and companies including U.S. Bank, which provides an eight-week intensive course in financial services job training to low-income young adults and those with barriers to employment – at no cost to participants.
U.S. Bank has pledged over $1 million in to help the program expand nationally. The funds have supported employees like Denver personal banker Mark Petersen.
Petersen is typically an easygoing guy, who as a restaurant manager for much of his career was well-liked by his employees. But behind his affable personality and restaurant successes, however, Mark was desperately hiding his grief.
After hitting a low point in his life, Petersen moved from Colorado Springs to Denver to take back control of his life. He entered a residential recovery program, which connected him to BankWork$.
Mark was among the first graduates of BankWork$ in Denver last October, and was hired by U.S. Bank shortly after. He says the career makeover was just what he needed.
The case for a stable, healthy home environment is clear: children and families are better positioned to thrive and succeed in a home that is safe and permanent. In response, our giving supports efforts that connect individuals and families with sustainable housing opportunities. In 2016, U.S. Bank granted $4.6 million in Home grants and corporate contributions.
The North Sarah affordable housing development is part of a growing success story in the inner city of St. Louis.
Before development, the Vandeventer neighborhood was rife with decaying houses mixed with vacant, overgrown lots and high crime. Since the construction of North Sarah began in 2011, the area has blossomed, in part due to $32 million in low-income housing tax credit equity investment from U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation.
There are now 300 mixed-income units in the development, including several that are a combination of innovative work-live units that convert from offices in the day to living space in the evening. The number of vacant lots has been reduced. Residents and developer McCormack Baron Salazar lobbied the City of St. Louis to renovate the adjacent J. Milton Turner Park, (named for a post-Civil War African-American civic leader). The block-wide park has since become a gathering space and playground for children from several places, not just North Sarah’s children, but also the entire neighborhood. The development has changed the lives of many of its residents.
Play brings joy. It is beneficial for problem solving, creativity and relationships. We invest in community programming that supports access to the arts, arts education and learning through play for children and adults in low- and moderate-income communities. In 2016, we funded $6.2 million in Play grants. Additionally, we provided $25 million in sponsorships that help bring families and communities together to enjoy sports, the arts and nature.
In 2016, U.S. Bank Places to Play launched with a three-year, $1 million investment in the State of Minnesota in partnership with the Minnesota Vikings. Over three years, U.S. Bank Places to Play will fund community-based nonprofit organizations and local schools across the state to create or improve parks, playgrounds and youth sports facilities in low- to moderate-income communities in Minnesota.
Our first round of grants provided nearly $300,000 to seven nonprofits across Minnesota.
“We believe in the power of play and the difference it can make in our communities,” said Phillip Trier, Twin Cities Market President for U.S. Bank. “I grew up playing football and had the great opportunity to play throughout high school and college. All of which was possible by having safe and accessible football fields to play on. That’s why we are so excited about these grants, which will create play spaces across the entire State of Minnesota, where lasting memories will be made.”