There is a natural desire, born of uncertainty and anxiety, to see 2020 as an anomaly: a unique moment in time when an unprecedented global pandemic has forced us to radically alter our daily lives. What’s more, these events have opened another window into the disparities that exist in our communities — from access to health care and education, to racial injustice.
As an organization whose mission is to change banking for good, Capital One is committed to harnessing our scale to invest in the communities we serve. In 2020, this has meant refocusing our efforts to address issues related to the pandemic — from establishing our remote workforce, to creating a microsite with financial tips and working one-on-one with our customers to find solutions to address the financial hardships they are experiencing as a result of this moment.
This work has taught us valuable lessons — perhaps most importantly that these hardships, undeniably exacerbated by the pandemic, are not caused by it and will not end with it. As we work to recover from the devastation that has shaken communities across our country in so many ways, we are presented with a remarkable opportunity to rebuild better.
Never has a moment accentuated the philosophy that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. As the country continues to navigate the myriad challenges brought forth by this pandemic, we continue to evaluate the role that we — and others — can take to rebuild in a way that keeps people safe and healthy and makes our systems more equitable for all. Here are a few of those lessons we’ve learned from the journey thus far:
Listen and engage the community you want to support: Black, Latino and Native Americans are more than 4.5 times more like to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 compared to white Americans, and they lost their jobs at twice the rate of white Americans in the early months of the pandemic. We cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach to recovery from the pandemic. Although we know more must be done to address issues affecting Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), we can’t simply assume that we have the answers. This is why we work directly with BIPOC organizations like the Black Economic Alliance and the National Urban League to provide support to communities that have faced an outsized impact by the pandemic.
Address tangible concerns: To create change, the communities we want to support must have a seat at the table to ensure the challenges we address and the solutions we offer are the priority. For example, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with thousands of restaurants closing and significant unemployment, Erik Bruner-Yang and his initiative, The Power of 10, aimed to transform the restaurant industry to support independently-owned restaurants and uplift communities. Capital One proudly teamed up with The Power of 10, which continues to mobilize resilient restaurateurs, reemploy their staff, support local vendors and serve local neighborhoods. To date, The Power of 10 has delivered over 170,000 meals to frontline healthcare workers, older adults and other people in need.
Continue to evolve: The experience with the pandemic resulted in a significant demand for flexibility and adaptation. The needs of our customers and community partners have changed over recent months, and we anticipate this need for flexibility and an openness to evolve and adapt how we tackle challenges over the short and long-term. We announced a series of grants focused on supporting partners who are pivoting their support model to the community in light of COVID-19. This includes partners such as the Greater New Orleans Foundation, leading the repositioning of the post-COVID New Orleans workforce by creating new career pathways and support for displaced hospitality workers, and the Better Housing Coalition in Richmond, Virginia, providing digital access to low-income seniors for digital education and telehealth needs.
The last few months have taught us that although we have faced unprecedented hardship, we must continue to stay resilient by working together to find solutions that are not only innovative, but also responsive to the evolving needs of our communities. This approach will not only support our personal well-being, but also serve as guiding principles to ensure our nation’s collective recovery is truly equitable, inclusive and empowering for all.
This article series is sponsored by Capital One and produced by the TriplePundit editorial team.
Image credit: Chris Montgomery/Unsplash
Andy Navarrete is Executive Vice President, External Affairs for Capital One Financial Corporation. External Affairs includes the Company’s Government and Policy Affairs, Regulatory Relations and Corporate Affairs functions. In this capacity, Mr. Navarrete oversees Capital One’s strategic and supervisory engagements with its federal and state regulatory agencies and legislators. Corporate Affairs includes Capital One’s media and public relations, corporate communications, community banking and finance, community relations and development, CRA and corporate philanthropy activities. Visit Capitalone.com/About to learn more about our commitments.