August 10, 2021
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — The PNC Foundation has awarded $225,000 in grants to Community Ventures, the United Way of the Bluegrass and the Urban League of Lexington-Fayette County to address racial justice, including economic empowerment, education and entrepreneurship.
The three-year grants are part of a 2020 PNC pledge to commit more than $1 billion to help end systemic racism and support the economic empowerment of Black Americans and low- and moderate-income communities.
PNC announced its commitment amid the racial justice movement last summer.
The commitment includes more than $50 million in charitable support for national and local work that will help address social justice issues and economic inequality with funding allocation led by the PNC Foundation board of directors, PNC’s regional presidents and community development banking teams.
The Lexington grants will support a range of initiatives in Lexington’s East End, an area that experienced segregation after the Civil War and suffered economically post-World War II. The grant recipients will use the funding as follows:
Community Ventures Corporation will support technical assistance programs that bolster small business ownership and home ownership in Lexington’s East End and other Black communities across the city;
United Way of the Bluegrass plans to work with subject matter experts like Fayette County Public Schools to provide a suite of education-based programming, in addition to providing volunteer opportunities for individuals to work with students to help improve educational outcomes at the WayPoint Center’s Charles Young location; and
The Urban League of Lexington-Fayette County plans to hire a development director who will focus on expanding program offerings, including economic empowerment, financial literacy, workforce development, minority entrepreneurship, home ownership and neighborhood revitalization.
“We believe that our strategic focus on fostering economic empowerment, education and entrepreneurism in traditionally underserved populations and communities addresses areas of most critical concern and truly reflects the needs of our communities,” said John Gohmann, PNC regional president for Lexington. “PNC is committed to driving real change in areas in which we can make the greatest impact. That’s why we are furthering our commitment to create meaningful, lasting, and equitable change in Lexington, especially in the East End.”
The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group, actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture.
Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.
“The PNC Foundation’s commitment for East End community development enables Community Ventures to reach even deeper into a community where we have been invested for decades. It is important to recognize the generosity of our partners like the PNC Foundation when we go about our work and know that we could not be more grateful for their belief in our work in Lexington’s East End, ” said Brian Hutchinson, chief development officer at Community Ventures.
“United Way of the Bluegrass is proud to partner with PNC as we work together to build a better and more equitable Bluegrass. This investment will help us directly impact individuals and families in the East End through a local access point, ensuring that more people can get the help they need to thrive and be successful,” added Timothy Johnson, president and CEO of United Way of the Bluegrass.
“Through this three-year commitment and partnership with PNC, we really have an opportunity to positively impact the quality of life for African Americans and the disadvantaged in Lexington. From financial literacy to entrepreneurship and education equity to college and career support, this is an investment in liberty and justice for all,” noted Annissa M. Franklin, chief administrative officer of the Urban League of Lexington-Fayette County.