Bank of America said Tuesday it will donate $1 billion to local communities to address racial and income inequalities exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Underlying economic and social disparities that exist have accelerated and intensified during the global pandemic,” CEO Brian Moynihan said in a statement.
The novel coronavirus has disproportionately hit African American communities. A recent study conducted by epidemiologists and clinician-researchers at four universities with nonprofit AIDS research organization amFar and PATH’s Center for Vaccine Innovation and Access found that counties with higher proportions of black people accounted for 52 percent of diagnoses and 58 percent of COVID-19 deaths nationally.
Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also found that of 580 patients hospitalized with the virus, 33 percent were black, compared to 18 percent in the community, while 45 percent were white, compared to 59 percent in the community.
Although he did not directly address it, Moynihan also alluded to the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week, which has ignited angry and often violent protests across the country over the past week.
“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," Moynihan said. "We all need to do more.”
The pledged money will go toward health care -- including virus testing and flu vaccination clinics -- jobs training, support to small businesses and housing, according to a news release from the company.