How the SunTrust Foundation Gives in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic States

create jobs 51/shutterstock

create jobs 51/shutterstock

Bank funders often stick to tried-and-true giving strategies that focus on familiar topics like financial literacy and education. So when one of these funders launches a new award program, our ears tend to perk up.

The SunTrust Foundation, based in Atlanta, launched its Lighting the Way awards program in 2016 to recognize nonprofits in its market areas for building financial confidence in their communities. The bank funder awarded its third round of grants for this program in October to grantees scattered across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

Now in its third year, SunTrust has really settled into this program and taken it to the next level.

Related: Not-So-Random Good Deeds: Another Housing Crisis Bad Actor Bank Giving for Financial Literacy

A total of 36 nonprofits benefited from the SunTrust Foundation’s latest $2.7 million commitment to build stronger and more financially confident communities. Each of these groups received a $75,000 grant, which more than tripled the total amount of money awarded for this program compared to last year. That’s a huge increase in funding, and also good news for nonprofits in the Southeast.

The bulk of new grantees are based in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. In Georgia, SunTrust’s home state, the list of grantees included Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, ACT! Albany Community Together, Junior Achievement of Georgia, and the Mary Hall Freedom House.

“Supporting the unique needs of our communities is central to our mission, and we recognize outstanding local nonprofit organizations that work tirelessly to meet the needs of their communities,” Stan Little, president of the SunTrust Foundation, said in a press release. “The Lighting the Way Awards celebrate their efforts and continue our partnership with these organizations.”

In addition to grants, the SunTrust Foundation also provides workshops, technology and collaborative project opportunities to its growing pool of nonprofit partners. For example, after the grant awards ceremony, the foundation invited new grantees to engage in an interactive session with David Greco, a nonprofit sustainability expert, and Alan Hobson, a motivational speaker, to promote stronger visions of long-term, mission-driven success.

Financial security is at the heart of SunTrust funding, but the foundation actually supports a fairly wide range of nonprofit groups that share this mission. Grantmaking areas of interest are financial education and counseling, career readiness, workforce development, and small business/entrepreneurship support.

Earlier this year, the funder donated money to assist in Hurricane Florence disaster relief and also to help economically challenged areas of the Southeast hire local talent. Better yet, this bank funder accepts unsolicited grant applications from Southeast and Mid-Atlantic-based nonprofits throughout the year. Over the past decade, the SunTrust Foundation has provided grants totaling over $140 million throughout the country.