Acceptance and inclusiveness for LGBTQ+ Americans has certainly come a long way since the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, when patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City staged an uprising to resist the police harassment to which they were commonly subjected.
Today for example …
- LGBTQ+ youths in Birmingham, Ala., have a safe place to go, where they can be themselves, feel accepted among their peers, and receive educational programming to help them thrive in a world where they often feel isolated;
- Homeless LGBTQ+ teens in Jacksonville, Fla., have access to free housing, health services and developmental learning opportunities in a community environment filled with love and support;
- In Orlando, Fla., 49 incoming college freshmen annually receive legacy scholarships totaling $333,000 in honor of the 49 victims of the 2016 shooting at a local nightclub; and
- Georgia’s statewide LGBTQ+ and allied business community gathers annually to advocate for an inclusive and equitable statewide business environment in which every Georgian has access to resources, opportunities and support to start, grow or sell their business – while safely and fully participating in their workplace and communities.
Regions Bank is commemorating the month with a salute to PRIDE in Progress – celebrating many of the local networks the bank support that have been built around members of the LGBTQ+ community – but also reinforcing the need for continued advocacy to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities impacting the communities we serve.
“As a proud supporter of the LGBTQ+ community for many years, pride month is a time for all of us at Regions to stand together and salute our network of community partners for their accomplishments and continued efforts to fuel more inclusive prosperity,” said Brett Shaffer, Regions’ head of Community Relations. “We are fortunate to be able to support so many organizations that are doing powerful work to make life better for LGBTQ+ individuals.”
As a proud supporter of the LGBTQ+ community for many years, pride month is a time for all of us at Regions to stand together and salute our network of community partners for their accomplishments and continued efforts to fuel more inclusive prosperity.
Brett Shaffer, Regions’ head of Community Relations
Regions’ support comes through a variety of volunteer services, monetary gifts, sponsorships and donations. Some examples include:
AIDS Alabama – Birmingham, Ala.
AIDS Alabama will break ground this year on an emergency, overnight shelter and transitional living program for area homeless, runaway and at-risk youth (ages 19 to 24) in Birmingham called the Way Station. Located near the city center, the facility will serve as a refuge for youths in crisis offering basic shelter programs; transitional housing including education, employment- and housing-readiness skills, and healthcare; and permanent housing. The Regions Foundation has contributed a grant in support of the project.
Equality Florida – Statewide
Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for the statewide LGBTQ+ community. Regions is an annual statewide sponsor.
Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce – Houston
The Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce accelerates economic opportunity for the LGBTQ+ business community through a strong network of business allies, innovative programs, strategic partnerships and advance policies that foster economic inclusion and equality. Regions is an active member of the chamber.
Indiana Youth Group (IYG) – Indianapolis
IYG creates safer spaces to foster community and provides programming that empowers LGBTQ+ youth and their families and magnifies their voices. The independent living skills program teaches skills such as résumé building, job interviewing and financial literacy. All programs and services are offered free of charge. Regions donates annually to IYG and teaches financial wellness to its staff – expanding the education sessions this year to IYG’s independent living skills training program.
Indy Rainbow Chamber of Commerce – Indianapolis
The Indy Rainbow Chamber (IRCC) is a diverse business networking organization dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community and encouraging an inclusive business environment that promotes Indianapolis and Central Indiana as a welcoming place to live, visit and do business. Regions is a member and sponsor of IRC.
JASMYN – Jacksonville, Fla.
JASMYN supports and empowers LGBTQ+ youth by creating safe spaces, providing health and wholeness services and offering youth development opportunities, while bringing people and resources together to promote equality and human rights. Regions annually contributes to JASMYN.
Lost-n-Found Youth – Atlanta
Lost-n-Found Youth is an Atlanta-based nonprofit that exists to end homelessness for all LGBTQ+ youth. Regions has been an annual contributor for more than three years, held a fundraiser for the organization through Banker Pride, and coordinated a volunteer effort in which bank associates prepared and delivered meals to the facility.
Magic City Acceptance Center (MCAC) – Birmingham, Ala.
The Magic City Acceptance Center is a safe, affirming place offering free in-person and virtual programming to LGBTQ+ children, youth, and adults across 27 Alabama counties. Regions has funded programing, enhanced Wi-Fi functionality and a more robust, secure internet server. Bank associates also provide financial wellness seminars for clients that MCAC serves.
Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Tampa Bay LGBT Chamber and Pride Chamber (of Central Florida)
These three LGBTQ+ chambers advocate for common business interests, economic growth and equality in the workplace and society. Regions is a member of all three organizations and provides financial and volunteer support.
Montrose Center – Houston
The Montrose Center empowers the Houston LGBTQ+ community to live healthier, more fulfilling lives – offering an integrated care model with one-stop access to behavioral health and support services, adult primary care and psychiatry, and free wellness programs. Regions provides financial support to the organization.
National Pulse Memorial and Museum – Orlando, Fla.
The National Pulse Memorial and Museum was established to honor the 49 people killed in the tragic Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016. In addition to a permanent memorial and museum being built, the nonprofit has created 49 individual annually awarded college scholarships named in honor of each victim. Regions is donating to support the program and the bank’s Orlando DEI Network has sponsored the organization’s Rainbow Unity Run with financial and volunteer support.
OUT Georgia Business Alliance – Atlanta
Since 1994, OUT Georgia Business Alliance has served the LGBTQ+ and allied business community by advocating for the most inclusive and equitable business environment, providing support and resources to fuel economic growth, and driving meaningful community connections and impact across the State of Georgia. Regions has been a gold corporate partner for more than five years, and been actively involved with the organization’s ambassador program.
Sidewalk – Birmingham, Ala.
Sidewalk is a nonprofit organization encouraging filmmaking in Alabama and building audiences for independent film. Regions has been a long-time presenting sponsor of Sidewalk’s SHOUT LGBTQ+ Film Festival, and provided additional funding in 2020 for Sidewalk Cinema to pivot to drive-in theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival – Tampa Bay, Fla.
TIGLFF’s mission is to showcase a selection of compelling film and video by, for, and about the LGBTQ+ community that entertains, empowers and enlightens the festival audience. Regions has sponsored the event for a number of years.
Tampa Pride and St. Petersburg Pride – Tampa Bay, Fla.
Tampa Pride and St. Pete Pride were created to promote unity, visibility, self-esteem and a positive image of the LGTBQ+ community of Tampa Bay. Regions is supporting a socially distanced event Once Upon A Shine in association with the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance.
Pride St. Louis – St. Louis
Pride St. Louis fosters an understanding of the LGBTQ+ community by raising awareness through educational programs and events leading up to the annual PrideFest in St. Louis. Regions has been a long-time sponsor and associates serve as parade participants and volunteers.
We will continue working hard to foster a sense of belonging for our colleagues who are part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Clara Green, Regions’ head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Regions has also made great strides to create its own workplace environment of inclusivity, where all bank associates, customers and community neighbors feel welcomed every day. In February, Regions earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2021 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) – an annual assessment of LGBTQ+ workplace equality measuring non-discrimination policies across business entities, equitable benefits for LGBTQ+ workers and their families, supporting an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility.
“We’re so proud to have earned a 100% in the Corporate Equality Index for a second year,” said Clara Green, Regions’ head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “We do not take this recognition for granted; we will continue working hard to foster a sense of belonging for our colleagues who are part of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Shaffer said these new and renewed investments in the LGBTQ+ community are just the beginning in terms of Regions’ commitment. “Upholding our core values of doing what is right and putting all customers first is what matters most. We are excited to see what the future holds for the LGBTQ+ community and its continued push for progress, while ensuring we progress as well towards being an even better ally.”