There is a meme of a giant hornets’ nest with the caption “If 2020 was a pinata.” Have you seen it? It’s a relatable visual for sure – as we all felt the ‘sting’ of 2020 one way or another.
2020 has been a difficult year. We’ve all adapted in one way or another to the pandemic-staying socially distant, working from home and trying to keep some sense of normalcy in our lives. It has been hard, and I was more than happy to ring in the new year.
At Regions, we believe brighter days are ahead. The optimism that comes with the fresh start of a new year is unprecedented. And rightly so. We intend to use this optimism as fuel to power our efforts to continue our work helping people and families in Jackson and across Mississippi.
For us it begins with our tireless commitment to community engagement. By making significant investments in education, workforce development, economic development and financial wellness projects through our financial resources, as well as through volunteerism and community involvement, Regions is always working to make life better across the communities we serve.
Last year, even in the face of all the challenges we experienced due to COVID-19, I’m proud that Regions pushed forward with initiatives in Mississippi aimed at enhancing access to first-rate healthcare for children, providing COVID-19 relief to nonprofits in support of small businesses, and advancing racial equity and economic empowerment.
Last October we contributed $225,000 toward the newly-opened Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower at Children’s of Mississippi. The expansion project culminated a long-term community initiative to provide best-in-class care to children across Mississippi for generations to come. The new facility includes 88 private neonatal intensive care rooms, 32 private pediatric intensive care rooms, a dozen advanced surgical suites, an imaging center designed for children and an outpatient specialty clinic for follow-up care.
It is an impressive facility that will help our community grow, prosper and treat those who need resources to feel better.
Earlier in the year, Regions announced it would match donations to COVID-19 relief efforts at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) by up to $50,000. The matching gift total was reached within weeks, and the funds were used to support UMMC’s efforts to serve patients, families and communities across the state impacted by COVID-19.
The donation was part of our response to help people, businesses and communities affected by the coronavirus. Collectively, Regions Bank and the Alabama-based Regions Foundation, a nonprofit initiative of Regions Bank that supports community investments, have given $5 million in support of small-business recovery, nonprofit assistance and other community initiatives across the Southeast, Midwest and Texas.
Our nation also experienced a series of racial injustices in 2020 that further illuminated the need for all of us to find new ways to advance racial equity and justice. At Regions, we are firmly committed to standing together with our communities in addressing the systematic racism and bias that impact so many people in our country. As a financial organization, it is our responsibility to use our resources and expertise in ways that address disparities and create positive change.
Last June, Regions and the Regions Foundation announced a $12 million commitment to advance programs and initiatives that promote racial equity and economic empowerment for communities of color while creating more inclusive opportunities for success.
Areas of focus range from advancing minority business development and increasing minority homeownership rates, to reducing the digital divide by increasing web accessibility in underserved communities. It is a meaningful step forward to foster and promote economic empowerment for communities of color.
While we have made significant progress, much more work remains to be done and we will build on the momentum from our efforts in 2020, yes 2020, to get there. Like you, we were pleased to close the chapter of 2020 and begin a new year. I hope we’ll reflect on this time and realize how much we’ve learned about helping others, prioritizing health and finding a way forward.
Robert Leard, Metro Jackson Market Executive for Regions Bank