Every year for more than 50 years, Atlanta Pride has attracted people from around the country to come together and celebrate LGBTQ history, survival, and joy. It’s only in more recent years, however, that the annual festival and parade have begun to attract corporations interested in showing their support to the LGBTQ community.
One such corporation is Bank of America. The national financial institution will have a presence at this year’s Pride celebration, but visibility is only one pillar of its LGBTQ allyship.
“Within Bank of America, we have — similar to a lot of other corporate organizations — employee network groups, also referred to as employee resource groups,” said Matt Keith, the Senior Vice President of Business Strategy and Initiatives / Market Integration Executive at Bank of America. “We have several different groups, and obviously LGBTQ is one of them. This network group is formalized across the enterprise; we have chapters globally. We’re focused on targeted strategy, awareness, and engagement across the organization. It’s really fantastic, and it really supports our focus in terms of diversity and inclusion within the organization.”
Keith is the Executive Sponsor of Georgia’s LGBTQ employee network at Bank of America as well as an active participant in Atlanta’s LGBTQ community, serving on the Board of Directors for OUT Georgia and as co-chair for the Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board.
Keith told Georgia Voice that Bank of America’s allyship and LGBTQ support consist of “different pillars,” from visibility and support to tangible benefits and services.
“A lot of the benefits our company has offered … show our advocacy,” he said. “We’ve got an ally program within our organization with over 30,000 members. We are one of the first financial institutions that have offered health insurance that covers medically necessary procedures for gender transitioning. We provide comprehensive domestic partner benefits and include sexual orientation nondiscrimination as part of our policy.”
“Within the communities we serve, we have a targeted approach with our clients,” he continued. “We have specific products and services that are tied to the community. For investment planning, for financial planning, we have programs that are targeted to the LGBTQ community specifically.”
Keith says the company also values being “actively engaged and involved” in the community and local nonprofit organizations. While in-person Pride was canceled the past two years, Bank of America “tried to ensure we stayed connected.”
“We helped when it was virtual, we partnered with local TV stations and showed our support by being a sponsor of it being televised,” he said.
This year, Bank of America will participate in the annual Atlanta Pride Parade on Sunday, October 9. At the time of speaking, Keith said that 135 people had registered to walk.
“Everybody is super thrilled to get back to some normalcy,” he said. “I think our organization speaks for itself in terms of our engagement and involvement. I’m super thrilled that we’re going to be able to participate this year at Pride back in person, and we just want to continue to show our support.”