Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Business

Bank of America exec highlights corporate giving efforts here ... and missed opportunities

TAMPA — As head of philanthropic giving for Bank of America, Andrew Plepler oversees doling out $2 billion toward social causes from building affordable housing to feeding the poor to funding teen jobs.

He also oversees the megabank's goal to invest and lend $1.5 trillion in community development projects over a 10-year span.

But, as Plepler pointed out during a visit to Tampa on Thursday, the bank cannot lend as much in Tampa Bay as it can elsewhere.

That's because no Tampa Bay nonprofit organizations have been licensed through the federal Community Development Financial Institutions Program, or CDFI, which has become an increasingly popular way to funnel bank loans toward community projects.

The program allows banks to lend to community-building initiatives that may not qualify for traditional bank loans. Loans in the $25,000 to $50,000 range are typically geared toward three areas: small business, affordable housing and charter schools.

Bank of America has emerged as a major CDFI participant, funneling $1 billion to qualified projects in 27 states from the Northeast to California. But not in Tampa Bay. Though some nonprofits are looking into the program, none has yet to be certified.

"It's a gap here," said Plepler, whose official title is global corporate social responsibility executive and consumer policy executive. "Where there are strong CDFI lenders, they can be very impactful."

Plepler talked about the missed opportunity during a media briefing on the bank's philanthropic programs.

Bill Goede, Tampa Bay president for Bank of America, said each market is given flexibility toward meeting local needs. In the bay area, that means an emphasis on providing meals and building affordable housing. In that vein, Bank of America has donated more than 20 homes, acquired through foreclosure, to be used as Habitat for Humanity homes. It's also taken a rare role for a bank as developer of the emerging Encore residential complex near downtown Tampa.

Since 2004, the bank also has trained more than 60 CEOs and emerging executives of Tampa Bay nonprofits through its "neighborhood builders" program.

Terrance McAbee, president and CEO of the Homeless Emergency Project, said the training he received was invaluable in helping him learn how to run his Clearwater-based charity as a business.

As an outgrowth of a church-centered effort, his group had thought it was virtuous to stay "humble" and relatively quiet about its work helping the homeless find shelter, clothing and other support. Tapping the bank's advice, McAbee rebranded the company and organized a PR campaign, helping it double its donor base from 6,000 to 12,000.

Jeff Harrington can be reached at (727) 893-8242 or [email protected]

Comments
Career Q&A: Nut allergy is a serious workplace concern

Career Q&A: Nut allergy is a serious workplace concern

Q: My manager has recently started eating nuts at her desk, which is located right next to mine. Unfortunately, I have a serious nut allergy, so any contact with them could produce a life-threatening reaction. Even foods which contain tiny pieces of ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Yes, we have some bananas: Port Tampa Bay welcomes first shipment in 21 years

Yes, we have some bananas: Port Tampa Bay welcomes first shipment in 21 years

TAMPA — More than two decades after the last bunch arrived on shore, bananas are back at Tampa’s port. More than 3,900 pallets of Chiquita bananas from Ecuador arrived last week at the new Port Logistics Refrigerated Services warehouse.It was the fir...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Guess co-founder steps aside after allegations from Kate Upton

Guess co-founder steps aside after allegations from Kate Upton

Associated PressNEW YORK — Guess Inc. says that co-founder Paul Marciano will give up his day-to-day responsibilities at the clothing company until a sexual misconduct investigation is completed. Model and actress Kate Upton told Time magazine earlie...
Published: 02/20/18
Grocery retailer Albertsons to buy drugstore chain Rite Aid

Grocery retailer Albertsons to buy drugstore chain Rite Aid

Associated PressThe privately held owner of Safeway, Vons and other grocery brands is plunging deeper into the pharmacy business with a deal to buy Rite Aid, the nation’s third-largest drugstore chain. Albertsons Companies is offering either a share ...
Published: 02/20/18
Following deaths from Irma, Florida looks to new rules for keeping nursing homes cool after outages

Following deaths from Irma, Florida looks to new rules for keeping nursing homes cool after outages

After national headlines and a public outcry over the deaths of 14 people at a Broward County nursing home after Hurricane Irma, nursing homes across the state are working to comply with new rules requiring them to have back-up power.But the process ...
Published: 02/20/18
Yoshi — car maintenance that comes to you — launches in Tampa Bay

Yoshi — car maintenance that comes to you — launches in Tampa Bay

A California-based company that promises to bring limited on-site car maintenance directly to you — from an oil change to a fill-up — has picked Tampa Bay as its next pit stop."Anything that your car needs, we’re going to bring to you," said Nick Ale...
Published: 02/20/18

Hernando Business Digest for Feb. 23

Business digestEventsCHAMBER RIBBON-CUTTINGS: The Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce will have two ribbon-cuttings in the coming week:• Access Health Care Physicians/Dr. Janice Rodriguez, 5290 Applegate Drive, Spring Hill, 10 a.m. Feb. 23. C...
Published: 02/20/18

Pasco Business Digest for Feb. 23

Business digestBrieflyLOCAL COMMUNITY RECOGNIZED: CHUY’S RESTAURANT TO OPEN: Chuy’s, the Austin-based Tex-Mex restaurant, will open its first Tampa Bay area location this spring near Cypress Creek Town Center in Wesley Chapel. The restaurant at 25750...
Published: 02/20/18
Steve Wozniak charms USF crowd: ‘The human or the technology — what’s more important?’

Steve Wozniak charms USF crowd: ‘The human or the technology — what’s more important?’

TAMPA — Steve Wozniak, the inventor of the Apple personal computer, is the tech genius who sounds less like an engineer, more like a philosopher.Startups? They can be a lot of fun — if started up for the right reason."The purpose should never be, thi...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Epilogue: Tourism community remembers Paradise founder Cedar Hames

Epilogue: Tourism community remembers Paradise founder Cedar Hames

When Cedar Hames spoke, you listened.He was a natural storyteller, always dressed sharp to match his wit and natural elegance. He grew a two-person business in St. Petersburg into a leading tourism, advertising and marketing agency over an esteemed 3...
Published: 02/19/18
Updated: 02/20/18