Investing in our Native American community

At Bank of America, we embrace and appreciate every person’s background – their culture, heritage and experiences. This demonstrates our commitment to being a great place to work, and upholds values that strengthen the communities we serve.

We are committed to investing in our Native American community, including supporting our Native American teammates, delivering for our Native American clients, and helping advance thriving economies in the communities we serve.

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Connecting our employees

With 11 Employee Networks, we are one of only a handful of financial institutions with a Native American Employee Network. Our Native American Professional Network (NAPN) aids in the recruitment, retention and career development of Native Americans, Alaskan Natives and Hawaiian Natives. NAPN also provides an opportunity for members of diverse backgrounds to come together and find a common voice.

 

NAPN members actively promote financial education in Native American territories and communities, help raise awareness of Native business opportunities and cultural issues, and support Bank of America’s business strategy of enlarging its profile in Native American governments and territories.

 

NAPN also partners with United National Indian Tribal Youth, a 43-year old nonprofit made up of a network of youth councils located on several reservations and in urban Native American communities in 36 states and Canada. In addition to an annual financial grant provided since 2010, NAPN members teach Better Money Habits® financial curriculum at youth conferences.

Learn more about our Employee Networks
Nick Grigsby

A history of service

Kemy Oakes, Collections and Recovery Team Manager, Inward Recovery Services, Global Technology & Operations, is a native Oklahoman and member of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma. Her grandmother was the eldest matriarch in the Ponca Tribe and devoted to community service. Having recently relocated to North Carolina, Kemy has connected with diverse professional networks, communities and tribes across the nation through NAPN. One of the values her grandmother instilled in her is “Ah – thay – wah – gee – thay,” or “We are all related.” What we do for others we do for ourselves and our children’s children. 

Celebrating Native American heritage

In November, we observe Native American Heritage Month, and the diverse cultures, traditions, histories and important contributions of Native American people. Throughout the month, we encourage employees to learn more about Native American heritage and culture in an effort to further our own culture of inclusion for all employees and clients.

For years, Bank of America has supported museums and exhibits that pay tribute to Native American heritage and culture. Highlights include:

  • We’ve supported the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian since its creation and are a sponsor of an ongoing exhibition at the museum, “Nation to Nation: Treaties between the United States and American Indian Nations” on display through 2021.
  • We are a Silver Level Donor to the National Native American Veteran Memorial project and the Lead Sponsor of the project’s public programming series and oral history workshops.
  • In 2015, we provided the Heard Museum of Phoenix with a grant to conserve eight sculptures by important Native American artists.
 
Victoria Wright

The importance of Native American Heritage Month

“We’re not a large population, so finding connectivity with other Native American employees, or with allies who understand our community, has been very important to me and my career. People who work in Indian Country understand the cultural nuances that may not be recognized by others. It’s important for colleagues to take time to learn more about our history, our cultural norms and our sensitivities.” - Victoria Wright, Strategic Marketing Executive, Chief Administrative Officer Group and member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah)

Community development and economic mobility

We have provided banking services to Native American governments and territories for more than 60 years. During the last 15 years, Bank of America has raised more than $23 billion in the bank and capital markets for tribal governments and their enterprises. Tribal governments use the funds for economic development efforts, finance development of tribal enterprises and to support a variety of social and economic programs and services such as health care, housing, education, elder care and infrastructure.

In 2009, Bank of America renewed this commitment with a 10-year, $1.5 trillion community development goal of lending and investing in low and moderate income (LMI) communities, including $50 billion dedicated to help build up rural and Native American communities.

We deliver much-needed capital to community development financial institutions, community development corporations, financial intermediaries and tax-exempt entities that promote neighborhood revitalization and job creation on Native American lands.

The Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program, powered by Bank of America, connects U.S. women entrepreneurs to affordable loans to help grow their businesses. Bank of America has committed $100 million to the program and more than 2,500 women entrepreneurs across 16 states have received loans thus far, including Shirley Pino, owner of RedWing Design in Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M.

Recognition