Banks Unite to Support Cleveland Neighborhood Revitalization
It’s not every day that business competitors come together for a common good, but that’s exactly what’s happening in Cleveland.
“We may mix it up a little bit on the field, but when it comes to something as critical as this to the future of Cleveland, we are all very much aligned,” said Kip Clarke, KeyBank Cleveland market president.
Clarke made his remarks at an event hosted by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson to announce a neighborhood revitalization project bringing together the city of Cleveland and four banks, including Key. Under the mayor’s Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, the city will invest $25 million into specific neighborhoods, and Key and three other banks will collectively invest $40 million. The neighborhoods targeted for investment were chosen based on the findings of a Cleveland State University study, and include Glenville and Buckeye on the East Side, and Clark-Fulton on the West Side. The neighborhoods are adjacent to University Circle and Ohio City, respectively, both of which have prospered in recent years.
The economic development plan aims to boost neighborhood revitalization by helping the communities realize their full potential in terms of housing, workforce development and small business growth. The city and banks will invest in building and rehabilitating homes, providing down payment assistance and mortgages, and mixed-use developments. There will also be investments in storefront rehabilitation and programs to attract and retain businesses that will employ local residents.
“This is not charity, it’s business,” said Clarke. “To be the city we aspire to be, we must invest in growth and bring jobs to all of our neighborhoods, because truly, neither Key, nor our peer banks, nor the city can prosper unless everyone prospers.”
Clarke noted that Key’s participation in the mayor’s initiative stems from its ongoing commitment to Cleveland. Between the KeyBank Foundation and the company itself, Key has donated or directly invested more than $100 million into the community over the past 10 years, and invested more than $250 million in affordable housing over the past five years. More recently, Key has committed to support University Circle’s NextStep program and the Urban League’s Capital Access Fund.
“Progress is only possible through leadership. It’s not made in isolated pockets; it must be part of a collaborative, coordinated plan,” said Clarke.