Bank of America pledges $40M to expand access to primary care in underserved communities nationwide

June 22, 2022 - Bank of America is committing $40 million to help expand community health centers and primary care facilities in underserved communities across the U.S., it announced Tuesday.

The bank says it is the largest private investor in nonprofit community development financial institutions (CDFIs), or entities focused on financial inclusion and economic development of low-income communities. It will partner with several to distribute the latest funding, claiming to be the only major bank to do so for healthcare access expansion. Of the $40 million committed, $10 million will go to additional CDFIs to encourage growth of investment in this space.

Additionally, Bank of America will provide $100,000 in philanthropic grants to help with CDFI operational costs and establish new health centers.
In its announcement, Bank of America acknowledged that primary care providers are essential to the health of a community.

"Increased investment in primary care improves health outcomes by making primary care more accessible and affordable, and by expanding the health care workforce to provide the services people need in the communities where they live and work," Ebony Thomas, Bank of America Charitable Foundation president, said in the press release. "Improved health and financial stability are integrally linked. Enabling access to quality medical care drives greater economic mobility and builds stronger communities."

Among the CDFI partners are Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC), Capital Impact Partners, the Reinvestment Fund and the Enterprise Community Loan Fund, all focused on impact investing. PCDC typically offers training, technical assistance and advocacy to improve primary care.

"The capital provided by Bank of America will enable PCDC to better serve health care providers nationwide, especially in communities of color and rural and low-income communities, which all too often struggle to access primary care," Louise Cohen, PCDC's CEO, said in the announcement. "One of our first anticipated projects is to fund a much-needed Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in a Florida community that is almost entirely low income and where more than half of residents live in public housing."

In 2020, Bank of America pledged $1 billion to advance racial equity, which has since been raised to $1.25 billion. This past May, it partnered with several organizations including the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the University of Michigan School of Public Health on a new four-year, $25 million effort to advance the health outcomes of people of color. The initiative focuses on education, preventive care and advocacy for fair resource opportunities. Since 2021, the bank claims, it has invested more than $66 million to address health needs.

By Anastassia Gliadkovskaya
Posted on Fiercehealthcare

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