During this time of special precautions and unique needs amid the coronavirus, new stories are emerging, showing how Regions and teams throughout the organization are taking extra steps to serve. In our “Above and Beyond” series, we’re highlighting some of the most recent examples.
“Esprit de corps.”
It’s an expression of the U.S. Marine Corps describing fellowship, pride and loyalty among a group.
For Thomas Napier, forging that bond once was special. Experiencing it a second time is exceptional.
“I could not be prouder of the people I work with,” said Napier, a BlackArch Partners, LLC associate who joined the M&A advisory firm and subsidiary of Regions in 2018. “We’re all separated right now due to the pandemic. I’ll be really happy to see my team once we’re at a safer place.”
While COVID-19 social distancing guidelines are temporarily preventing BlackArch team members from being together in person, Napier and his colleagues are enlisting technology to gather virtually. Through video calls, they have conducted meetings and caught up over social hours. And, more importantly, they have connected online to issue creative challenges to one another to raise funds helping their Charlotte neighbors impacted by the pandemic.
I could not be prouder of the people I work with.
Thomas Napier, BlackArch Partners
Those creative challenges range from workout sessions to shaving punk rock-style haircuts, all to raise money in support of community recovery. Both Napier and BlackArch co-founder and managing director Will “Coop” Cooper are sporting new hairdos for the cause.
Donations compiled by BlackArch associates are benefitting the Foundation For The Carolinas and United Way of Central Carolinas’ COVID-19 Response Fund. Thanks to the generosity of many people, foundations, local governments and several companies throughout the region, the fund has raised $17 million so far.
“We knew the Foundation For The Carolinas was the most efficient way to get money to the greatest number of people,” said Cooper. “It’s needed quickly; let’s trust the experts to do it.”
The impact of BlackArch’s generosity is being amplified thanks to a United Way matching gift campaign recently announced by the Regions Foundation. Funds raised by BlackArch team members will be matched by the Regions Foundation to help United Way reach more people.
BlackArch Partners is a longtime community partner with Foundation For The Carolinas. Each year, the company contributes to community organizations through a donor-advised fund held at FFTC. BlackArch’s 55-member team also supports nonprofits through active volunteerism.
“The BlackArch team cares as much about the community as they do about their clients,” said Rit Amin, Executive Vice President/Managing Director and head of Corporate and Institutional Markets at Regions, which consists of all of the bank’s corporate capital raising and advisory services operating as two broker/dealers of Regions Securities and BlackArch Securities. “They have a long history of supporting community organizations like Let Me Run, Heart Math Tutoring, Urban Ministry Center and many others. That community spirit reflects a synergy between our two companies that’s existed since day one.”
It’s that same community “esprit de corps” that inspired Napier to make a difference. The twice-deployed U.S. Marine infantryman served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007 and 2009.
“I proudly served and would do it all over again without question,” said Napier.
Napier is quiet. Thoughtful. Humble. He’s far more interested in serving others than talking about himself. Cooper believes those attributes make him a perfect fit at BlackArch.
“Our culture is our most important asset,” said Cooper. “We’re a small, close-knit group. One of the most challenging aspects for our team related to the coronavirus is that we wanted to go out and take action, but we couldn’t. It’s hard for us to sit on the sidelines. We kept asking ourselves, ‘What are we doing to make a difference?’”
Inspiration struck with the workout and haircut challenge ideas.
“This was something fun and simple we could do to raise money,” said Napier. “It’s not an obligation. It’s an easy way to help others and point money in the right direction.”
Amin has lent his support with bike workouts to raise funds.
“I applaud the team for their efforts,” said Amin. “This is just another example of how our culture is built on teamwork.”
Napier and Cooper acknowledge their fundraising results have exceeded expectations.
“It’s really taken on a life of its own,” said Cooper.
Cooper is grateful for the Regions Foundation’s match and the ability it provides for funds to make a direct impact in the community where he and BlackArch team members live.
“‘How do we help locally?’ is a question we asked,” said Cooper. “If everyone helps locally, we can all do our part.”
And Cooper emphasizes that contributions don’t have to be large to offer help and hope.
“We haven’t shared the amounts team members are giving because every single donation matters,” he said. “This is going to be a need that goes on for a long time. Each dollar provides support today and for the future.”
Laura Yates Clark, president and CEO of United Way of Central Carolinas, agrees that donations of all sizes are making an impact during these challenging times.
“As the needs throughout our community continue to grow, donations to this fund are critical in making sure we have the ability and resources to help those who need us today and in the coming months,” said Clark. “We’ve seen donations ranging from a two-dollar gift from an anonymous online donor to $1.3 million from Mecklenburg County. It’s been inspiring to see this community rally around this cause and come together to help those who need it the most.”
Napier and Cooper optimistically think about future days when the BlackArch team will be back under the same roof working – and serving – together.
“I look forward to when we can get back to volunteering in groups again,” said Cooper. “In the meantime, we can hopefully help somebody by raising these funds. We wish we could do more.”
It’s an “esprit de corps” greater than any challenge we may face right now.
About Regions Foundation
Regions Foundation supports community investments that positively impact the communities served by Regions Bank. The Foundation engages in a grantmaking program focused on priorities including economic and community development; education and workforce readiness; and financial wellness. The Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation funded primarily through contributions from Regions Bank.
About BlackArch Partners
BlackArch Partners is a leading middle-market investment bank offering a full spectrum of advisory services to financial sponsors, private companies and diversified corporations. BlackArch addresses the needs of owner-operators, founders and shareholders of private companies with specialized services that include M&A advisory, strategic advisory and private capital solutions. Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, BlackArch features a total of 12 industry-focused practices that cover all sectors of interest to middle-market investors; BlackArch professionals have closed more than 350 transactions in 16 countries on four continents. Please visit our website, blackarchpartners.com, for more details.