Supporting education and workforce development is a key part of Regions Bank’s and the Regions Foundation’s community engagement strategy.
In the short-term, funding in these areas provides tools and resources, training and job opportunities in our communities – which are tremendously important.
But with support in these critical areas, the bank and the Foundation are also playing the long game.
Investments in education and workforce development create economic mobility opportunities, reduce wealth gaps, foster inclusive prosperity and ensure that more people throughout the Regions Bank footprint are given a chance for personal and financial success.
Both those short- and long-term priorities were the drivers for $100,000 in funding recently committed by the Regions Foundation to state affiliates of longtime community partner Jobs for America’s Graduates, or JAG.
The Regions Foundation is a nonprofit funded primarily by Regions Bank. The Foundation provides grants and investments to organizations creating positive change in communities across the South, Midwest and Texas. Along with education and workforce development, the Regions Foundation also focuses on initiatives that are enhancing economic and community development and financial wellness. The Regions Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation based in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Regions Foundation is committed to funding programs that provide hope and opportunity, helping people overcome barriers and achieve success.
Marta Self, executive director of the Regions Foundation
JAG is a state-based national nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping young people in school through graduation and providing work-based learning experiences that lead to career advancement or post-secondary education opportunities.
Regions Bank and the Regions Foundation have a longstanding relationship with JAG. Since 2020, the Regions Foundation has provided more than $450,000 in funding to JAG. Regions Bank has contributed more than $275,000 to the organization in the same time period with additional support planned for 2024.
“The Regions Foundation is committed to funding programs that provide hope and opportunity, helping people overcome barriers and achieve success,” said Marta Self, executive director of the Regions Foundation. “We’re pleased to support the hands-on work that JAG is doing every day to ensure young people in our communities are prepared and ready for post-secondary education opportunities and career success.
Self explained that these grants, distributed to four state affiliates throughout the Regions Bank footprint, will make a direct impact on students in those areas. Specifically, the funding will support JAG’s Youth Workforce Development Programs, which offer academic support, career development, job-readiness training, job-shadowing opportunities, mentoring, and one-on-one coaching from JAG specialists. JAG works with employers, community organizations, and other stakeholders to help students secure opportunities such as internships, apprenticeships and full-time jobs.
Along with philanthropy, Regions Bank also provides hands-on support to JAG through volunteerism and board service. Regions Bank associates recorded more than 100 volunteer hours with JAG last year and two Regions Bank Community Affairs associates, Nancy Barnes-Ault and LoRose Moore, serve on state boards.
Regions Bank Head of Wealth Management Leslie Carter-Prall is also actively involved with JAG, having served on the national board of directors for the past seven years, including a term as treasurer.
Carter-Prall is pleased that the Regions Foundation continues to understand the benefits that JAG brings to youth who have overcome obstacles and challenges.
“JAG produces measurable outcomes for students and the organization is delivering the best results in its 40-year history,” Carter-Prall said. “JAG seniors have a 95.8 percent graduation rate, compared to less than 84 percent for U.S. high school seniors. The full-time employment rate for JAG graduates is nearly 84 percent and 52 percent of seniors pursue post-secondary education opportunities.”
The most recent Regions Foundation grants are distributed to the following local agencies.
A $30,000 grant to JAG Indiana was presented late last year during a student financial education session with the organization’s JAG-Indy Affiliate. The grant will support JAG’s Youth Workforce Development program, including the 2024 JAG State Career Development Conference. Grant funding will help offset the cost for students across Indiana to attend the state conference where they will be able to participate in leadership and career workshops, academic competitions and more.
Funded through Indiana Department of Workforce Development grants, JAG Indiana has provided more than 250,000 service-learning hours to its participants. 2023 JAG Indiana participants have earned more than $23 million in scholarship funds.
In early November, the Foundation announced a $30,000 donation to Jobs for America’s Graduates-Missouri to their Youth Workforce Development program, including the 2024 JAG-Missouri State Career Development Conference. Similar to the Indiana grant, this funding will help offset the cost for students across Missouri to attend the state conference and participate in personal development workshops and competitions.
The grant announcement was part of the Dora R-3 JAG day of activities, which included a student luncheon, a tour of the Missouri State Capitol and a reception with Missouri’s First Lady Teresa Parson.
JAG-Missouri serves 4,000 students through 112 programs at 80 schools. The program boasts a 98 percent participant graduation rate.
A $25,000 grant was presented to Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates as part of the organization’s Leadership Development Conference. i-JAG partners with Iowa schools to deliver career development programming that includes leadership training, career education, individualized guidance and employer services. The impact is shaping a future-ready generation of leaders with sustainable plans for career and life thanks to meaningful experiences with Iowa employers.
Since 1999, i-JAG has helped more than 35,000 young people unlock their potential by remaining rooted to serve “Every Student. No Matter What!” This statement reflects i-JAG’s commitment to meet the unique needs of every student so they believe they can succeed and achieve what they set out to be.
A $15,000 Regions Foundation grant will help offset the cost for nearly 1,000 students across Alabama to attend the JAG state conference in Birmingham, where they will be able to participate in leadership and career workshops and academic competitions.
Since 2020, the Regions Foundation has provided $45,000 to JAG Alabama. JAG Alabama currently operates 47 programs across the state and serves over 1,600 students. In 2022, the Alabama program had a 99% graduation rate of students in the program.
The funding for all four JAG affiliates was provided in late 2023 to help pay for programming the students will receive later this year. But Self is looking ahead, beyond the new year. “When we invest in young people, we’re creating opportunities for students and their families – and we’re also securing a brighter future for our communities.”