By Danielle Jones
Fifth Third Bank
Fifth Third and Enterprise Community Partners are establishing a neighborhood program to support and revitalize the Avondale community. The Neighborhood Investment Program will focus over three years with the Avondale Development Corporation and cross-sector collaborations.
“This opportunity allows Fifth Third to invest in a unique way in Avondale by taking a thoughtfully structured approach to address systemic issues,” said Tim Elsbrock, Fifth Third’s Cincinnati region president. “This is more than infusing up to $20 million of capital into the neighborhood. We are working to make a significant impact that goes beyond the dollars by collaborating with the Avondale Development Corporation to improve the livelihood of the community that will have lasting impact for generations to come.”
Fifth Third is collaborating on the initiative with Enterprise Community Partners, a national nonprofit that exists to make a good home possible for the millions of families without one. Together, they managed a criteria-based, invitation-only application process to select nine majority-Black neighborhoods that have seen a sustained period of disinvestment. Avondale was one of the locations selected.
Enterprise will provide technical assistance to support each neighborhood in developing and implementing a plan tailored to the unique challenges it faces. Enterprise will then assist with assessing the plan’s effectiveness at improving the economic well-being of residents and small locally owned businesses. Successful outcomes will include investments in small businesses, homeownership and workforce development to create successful outcomes such as increased employment, economic stability and growth.
“The Fifth Third Neighborhood Investment Program shows what is possible when we make intentional investments that center on Black life and legacy,” said Priscilla Almodovar, president and chief executive officer of Enterprise Community Partners. “Enterprise is so excited to join Fifth Third and this group of committed neighborhood partners on an initiative that powerfully aligns with our goals as an organization: increase the housing supply, advance racial equity and build resilience and upward mobility.”
“We are committed to providing strategic insight that will help establish an upward trajectory for communities that have historically had limited investment opportunities,” said Royce Sutton, Fifth Third’s community and economic development manager. “This is more than giving bank dollars and programs to communities in need. Through the Neighborhood Investment Program, we’ll connect comprehensive assistance to build relationships within these communities. This will develop a foundation of equity to help eliminate racial disparities and level the playing field.”
Fifth Third intends to commit up to $20 million in lending, investments and philanthropic support, including grants from the Fifth Third Foundation to Avondale. A combination of capital, products and services will be invested into small businesses, mortgages, philanthropic efforts, and neighborhood revitalization loans and investments.
Avondale was invited to apply for the program based on its ability to meet specific criteria, including collaborating with the neighborhood’s Black residents, existing civic infrastructure in the neighborhood and its capability to manage equitable investment and wealth-building opportunities. The program’s funds will cultivate investments and resources from additional stakeholders to support the economic mobility of low- to moderate-income residents in the target neighborhoods.
Russell Hairston, executive director of Avondale Development Corporation, said his organization would use the funds to build off two major neighborhood planning efforts – a quality of life plan and housing strategy. The plan includes support for the next generation of homeowners, improvements to the housing stock, small business development and infrastructure initiatives like the Innovation Corridor and its Greenway Project.
“The Avondale Development Corporation, on behalf of the Avondale Neighborhood, seeks Equitable Growth that will ensure intergenerational economic mobility. It will involve equitable housing, small business development and assistance, education, income security, and wealth accumulation. Together….We will grow Avondale,” said Hairston.
The Neighborhood Investment Program is part of Fifth Third’s $2.8 billion commitment that will provide $2.2 billion in lending, $500 million in investments, $60 million in financial accessibility and $40 million in philanthropy from the Fifth Third Foundation as part of Fifth Third’s Accelerating Racial Equality, Equity and Inclusion initiative. The commitment is focused on four strategic pillars that directly impact customers and communities with targeted outcomes enabling the Bank to track progress and measure success in the areas of strategic investments, access to capital, financial inclusion and education, and social justice and advocacy. This program also aligns with Enterprise’s new strategic plan and three central goals: to increase housing supply, advance racial equity and build resilience and upward mobility.
To learn more about the Neighborhood Investment Program, visit 53NeighborhoodInvest.org.