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$500,000 Investment From KeyBank Foundation To Assist BIPOC Businesses and DEI Efforts in New York's Capital Region

$500,000 Investment From KeyBank Foundation To Assist BIPOC Businesses and DEI Efforts in New York's Capital Region

Published 08-23-22

Submitted by KeyBank

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Photo: Fran O’Rourke, KeyBank Capital Region Market President

KeyBank is investing $500,000 in a new initiative by the Capital Region Chamber in Albany, New York to provide no-cost business growth services to Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC)-owned enterprises and to support the implementation of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices in the greater business community.

In addition to the KeyBank Foundation’s grant, the Chamber’s four-year Accelerating Inclusive Economic Opportunity initiative is supported by matching grants from the Business for Good and CDPHP, for a total investment of $1.5 million.

“The Chamber will be raising the bar and creating greater equity in the Capital Region by both providing BIPOC-owned enterprises with one-on-one services, as well as supporting DEI efforts in the business community. We are deeply thankful for Business for Good, the KeyBank Foundation and CDPHP, whose support will result in a more economically inclusive and prosperous Capital Region,” said Capital Region Chamber President and CEO Mark Eagan.

“Our community is better when everyone has an opportunity to grow in an equitable way. All of us at KeyBank are proud to be part of this collaborative effort that will give the Chamber resources to provide leadership, education, and programming to help Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) businesses owners in our region grow,” said KeyBank’s Capital Region Market President Fran O’Rourke. “This will make these businesses stronger by helping them overcome barriers, scale operations and build wealth. This is a wonderful illustration of how we are helping businesses in the Capital Region accelerate inclusive economic opportunity.”

Photo: Tamika Otis, KeyBank Capital Region Corporate Responsibility Officer


There are more than 760 BIPOC-owned businesses in Albany, Rensselaer and Saratoga counties. While any of these BIPOC-owned businesses in these four counties can participate in the program, the Chamber will focus its efforts on supporting the estimated more than 400 with revenues $200,000 and $1 million. The services the Chamber will provide to BIPOC-owned enterprises under this initiative include:

  • One-on-one engagement to meet businesses where they are in their life cycle of business and offer individualized support, expertise, and solutions to have the greatest impact on success;
  • Connection to resources and expertise utilizing a collaborative, partnership approach through the Chamber’s network of strong community partners;
  • Funding to cover the costs of vetted business experts and consultants for specific needs if/as needed (and, wherever possible, utilizing regional BIPOC business experts and consultant organizations);
  • Business Introductions and B2B networking events to increase economic and partnership opportunities;
  • Educational sessions and skills building classes on a variety of topics (ex. How to bid on government contracts);
  • New York State M/WBE certification assistance with the application process for as appropriate; and
  • Professional development through a one-year, no-cost membership to the Capital Region Chamber for participating BIPOC-led businesses with access to its networking, professional development, and educational opportunities (the membership will be discounted the following year).

Providing much of this business support is the Chamber’s newly hired director of BIPOC business growth, Danielle Davis, who owned and operated The Dutch Pot, a Jamaican restaurant in Albany.


Chamber Vice President of DEI Jason Benitez is leading the Chamber’s effort to assist businesses with DEI implementation. The DEI implantation services the Chamber will provide include:

  • Promotion of the moral and economic benefits of DEI practices, policies, and culture;
  • Workshops and trainings;
  • Connections to employment opportunities and under-tapped talent pools (BIPOC, veteran, LGBTQ+, second-chance hiring populations) through key partner engagement,
  • Referral source for BIPOC-led companies;
  • DEI “toolkits” and other resources to assist businesses with advancing DEI practices and outcomes; and
  • Marketing and outreach to attract and retain a more diverse workforce and inclusive employers.

Read more about this collaborative effort that the Capital Region Chamber is leading:

Learn more about KeyBank’s sustainability and societal impact of our business and investments in our annual Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report

Learn more about how KeyBank can help small businesses

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KeyCorp's roots trace back 190 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Key is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $176.2 billion at March 31, 2021. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management, and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states under the name KeyBank National Association through a network of approximately 1,100 branches and more than 1,400 ATMs. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit KeyBank is Member FDIC. 

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