$500,000 Investment from KeyBank Foundation to Support BIPOC Business and DEI Efforts in the New York Metropolitan Region

Published 4 hours ago

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

KeyBank is investing $500,000 in a new Albany, New York, Capital Region Chamber initiative to provide free business growth services to Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC)-owned businesses and to support diversity implementation, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices in the larger business community.

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

“The Chamber will raise the bar and create greater equity in the Capital Region by providing tailored services to BIPOC-owned businesses and by supporting DEI’s efforts in the business community. We are deeply grateful to Business for Good, the KeyBank Foundation and CDPHP, whose support will lead to a more economically inclusive and prosperous metropolitan region,” said Capital Region Chamber President and CEO Mark Egan.

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

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 approximately 400-plus with revenues between $200,000 and $1 million. The services that the Chamber will provide to BIPOC-owned businesses under this initiative include:

  • A one-on-one commitment to meeting businesses where they are in their business lifecycle and offering tailored support, expertise and solutions to have the greatest impact on success;
  • Link to resources and expertise by using 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/when necessary (and, where possible, use of BIPOC regional business experts and consultancy organisations);
  • Business presentation and B2B networking events to increase economic and partnership opportunities;
  • Educational sessions and skill-building classes on various topics (eg, how to apply for government contracts);
  • New York State M/WBE certification assistance with the application process as appropriate; and
  • Professional development through a one-year, free membership to the Capital Region Chamber for participating BIPOC-led businesses with access to its networking, professional development and education opportunities (membership will be discounted next year).

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


DEI Chamber Vice President Jason Benitez leads the Chamber’s efforts to assist businesses with DEI implementation. The DEI implant services that the Chamber will provide include:

  • Promoting the moral and economic benefits of DEI practices, policies and culture;
  • Seminars and trainings;
  • Connections with employment opportunities and underutilized talent (BIPOC, veterans, LGBTQ+, second-chance hiring populations) by engaging key partners,
  • Referral source for BIPOC-led companies;
  • DEI “Toolkits” and other resources to help businesses improve 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 the 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 approximately $176.2 billion in assets as of March 31, 2021. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management services and investments of 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 complex corporate and investment banking products such as M&A advisory, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in select industries in the United States under the trade name KeyBanc Capital Markets. For more information, visit https://www.key.com/. KeyBank is a member of the FDIC.

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