“Underlying economic and social disparities that exist have accelerated and intensified during the global pandemic,” CEO Brian Moynihan said in a press release about the program. “The events of the past week have created a sense of true urgency that has arisen across our nation, particularly in view of the racial injustices we have seen in the communities where we work and live. We all need to do more.”
The financial services company said the money will be spent over the next four years to expand health services in minority communities and support small businesses devastated by the virus. Bank of America said it will also do more to hire staff from low-to-moderate income communities and will make investments in affordable housing projects.
The initiative comes as 40.8 million Americans have filed unemployment claims since mid-March amid the pandemic.
The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reported that African-American workers and their families have been particularly hit hard by the pandemic.
“Black workers and their families were economically insecure before the pandemic tore through the United States,” a report from EPI on Monday said. “The pandemic and related job losses have been especially devastating for black households because they have historically suffered from higher unemployment rates, lower wages, lower incomes, and much less savings to fall back on, as well as significantly higher poverty rates than their white counterparts.”
The U.S. currently has the most coronavirus cases in the world. As of Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. ET, there are 1,820,523 domestic COVID-19 cases and 105,644 deaths.