Fifth Third Bancorp today announced $560,000 in grants from its Enterprise Investment Fund (EIF) for the first round of 2013. Directed by Fifth Third’s Community Affairs department, the EIF is designated for Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) initiatives and programs to strengthen CRA lending, investment and service performance across the Company. The Fund distributed $900,000 in 2012 and has invested $2.3 million in local communities since 2011. Fifth Third created the Enterprise Investment Fund to provide additional Bank resources for local communities. Fifth Third Bancorp’s affiliates apply for funding and awards are made several times per year. The markets receiving EIF funds in the first round of 2013 are: Central Indiana, Central Ohio, Eastern Michigan, North Carolina, Northeastern Ohio, South Florida, St. Louis, Tennessee and Western Michigan. “Our Enterprise Investment Fund provides financial support to our communities in greatest need. Through these grants, we seek to make a significant positive impact in our neighborhoods,” said Camino Smith, vice president and director of Community and Economic Development, Fifth Third Bank. “We are excited to provide these worthy organizations with this year’s first round of funds to support people in need throughout our local communities.” Contributions from the EIF must directly benefit low- and moderate-income individuals and/or geographies, designated disaster areas, or distressed or underserved non-metropolitan middle-income geographies. They must also have the primary purpose of community development. Project descriptions for the markets include:
- Fifth Third Bank (Central Indiana) was awarded $25,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana, Inc., which will help the organization build infrastructure for a new interactive computer lab to support its mission to help underserved youth reach their potential.
- Fifth Third Bank (Central Ohio) was awarded $60,000 for the National Church Residences Foundation and $40,000 for Goodwill Industries of Kyowva Area, Inc. National Church Residences will use the funds for community engagement and work readiness training to help residents obtain permanent employment. Goodwill Industries will renovate the J.W. Scott Center, which will provide financial education and workforce programming for the local community.
- Fifth Third Bank (Eastern Michigan) received $25,000 for the Center for Empowerment and Economic Development. The funds will be used to assist the organization’s micro-loan program, which supports small business owners who cannot access financing from conventional sources.
- Fifth Third Bank (North Carolina) was awarded $50,000 for The Support Center to establish a micro-lending fund that will provide short-term loans to farmers, contractors, women, and veteran-owned businesses. A grant of $25,000 also was provided to CORE Programs, Inc. for a holistic development initiative to bridge skill gaps of low-income adults entering the workforce.
- Fifth Third Bank (Northeastern Ohio) received funds on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland ($20,000), the Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association ($15,000) and Towards Employment Incorporated ($15,000). The funds will support the Jewish Federation’s volunteer tutoring program, the Neighborhood Centers Association’s program to provide assistance to non-profit member organizations, and Toward Employment’s financial counseling and workforce development training for low- and moderate-income families.
- Fifth Third Bank (South Florida) received funds on behalf of the Florida Gulf Coast University Small Business Development Center ($40,000) and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast, Inc. ($25,000). The funds will support the university’s program offering technical assistance and special economic development initiatives for second stage businesses located in underserved areas and Big Brother Big Sisters’ financial empowerment training program for parents in low-income communities.
- Fifth Third Bank (St. Louis) was awarded $100,000 for Better Family Life, Inc. to create a business center that will provide micro-lending and mentoring, training and counseling on financing, mortgage lending and credit building to small business owners.
- Fifth Third Bank (Tennessee) received funds on behalf of the PENCIL Foundation ($25,000), the Urban League of Middle Tennessee ($20,000) and the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley ($15,000). The funds will support PENCIL Foundation’s youth and adult financial literacy and education programs, the Urban League’s new microenterprise solution to help sustain the organization’s mission, and the Boys and Girls Clubs’ programs designed to help youth make financially responsible decisions and become self-directed learners.
- Fifth Third Bank (Western Michigan) received funds on behalf of the Traverse City Area Chamber Foundation ($40,000) and SEEDS Community Development Impact ($20,000). The funds will establish the Foundation’s revolving micro-loan fund and the SEEDS’ project to cultivate jobs, wealth and entrepreneurial support for residents in the Dickinson Elementary School service area.