$500,000 investment from KeyBank Foundation to support BIPOC business and DEI efforts in the New York metropolitan area

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Photo: Fran O’Rourke, KeyBank Capital Markets President

KeyBank is investing $500,000 in a new initiative by the Capital Region Chamber in Albany, New York to provide no-cost business enhancement services to Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC)-owned businesses and support diversity, equity and implementation. Inclusion (DEI) practices in the larger business community.

In addition to the KeyBank Foundation grant, the Chamber’s four-year Accelerating Inclusive Economic Opportunity initiative is supported by matching grants from Business for Good and CDPHP, for a total investment of $1.5 million.

“The Chamber is raising the bar and creating greater equity in the Capital Region by providing one-on-one services to both BIPOC-owned enterprises, as well as supporting DEI efforts in the business community. We are deeply grateful to Business for Good, the KeyBank Foundation and CDPHP, whose The collaboration will result in a more economically inclusive and prosperous Capital Region,” said Capital Region Chamber President and CEO Mark Egan.

“Our communities are better when everyone has the opportunity to grow equally. All of us at KeyBank are proud to be a part of this collaborative effort to help the Chamber develop Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) business owners in our region through leadership, education and will provide resources to deliver programming,” said Fran O’Rourke, KeyBank’s Capital Region Market President. “This will strengthen these businesses by helping them overcome barriers, scale operations and build wealth. It’s a wonderful illustration of how we’re helping businesses in the Capital Region accelerate inclusive economic opportunity.”

Photo: Tamika Otis, KeyBank Capital Region Corporate Responsibility Officer

Businesses owned by BIPOC

There are more than 760 BIPOC-owned businesses in Albany, Rensselaer and Saratoga counties. While any of these BIPOC-owned businesses in these four counties can participate in the program, the Chamber will focus its efforts on assisting the estimated 400 or more with revenues between $200,000 and $1 million. Services provided by the Chamber to BIPOC-owned enterprises under this initiative include:

  • One-on-one engagement to meet businesses where they are in their business life cycle and offer personalized support, expertise, and solutions to have the greatest impact on success;
  • Connect with resources and expertise using a collaborative, partnership approach through the Chamber’s network of strong community partners;
  • Funds to cover the costs of vetted business experts and consultants as needed/as needed (and, where possible, using regional BIPOC business experts and consulting organizations);
  • Business introductions and B2B networking events to increase economic and partnership opportunities;
  • Educational sessions and skill-building classes on various topics (eg, how to bid on government contracts);
  • New York State M/WBE certification assistance in the application process as appropriate; and
  • Professional development through a one-year, no-cost membership to the Capital Region Chamber (membership will be waived the following year) to participate in BIPOC-led business with access to its networking, professional development, and educational opportunities.

Providing much of this business support is BIPOC’s recently appointed director of the Chamber for Business Growth, Daniel Davis, who owns and operates Dutch Pot, a Jamaican restaurant in Albany.

DEI implementation

Chamber Vice President of DEI Jason Benitez is leading the Chamber’s efforts to assist businesses with DEI implementation. DEI transplant services offered by the Chamber include:

  • promote the ethical and economic benefits of DEI practices, policies, and culture;
  • workshops and training;
  • Connections with employment opportunities and under-tapped talent pools (BIPOC, veteran, LGBTQ+, second-chance hiring populations) through key partner engagement;
  • A reference resource for BIPOC-led companies;
  • DEI “toolkits” and other resources to help businesses advance DEI practices and outcomes; and
  • Marketing and outreach to attract and retain a more diverse workforce and inclusive employers.

Read more about this collaborative effort led by the Capital Region Chamber:

Learn more about KeyBank’s sustainability and the social impact of our business and investments in our annual Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) report.

Learn more about how KeyBank can help small businesses

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KeyCorp’s roots trace back 190 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Key is one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies with assets of approximately $176.2 billion as of March 31, 2021. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management, and investment services to individuals and businesses over 15. KeyBank National Association states through a network of approximately 1,100 branches and more than 1,400 ATMs. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products such as mergers and acquisitions advice, public and private debt and equity, syndication and derivatives to middle market companies in select industries across the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit https://www.key.com/. KeyBank is a member FDIC.

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