Spotlight on Truist
When the pandemic imperiled America’s small businesses, Truist was there to help
Kela Nabors was on her way to building a thriving organic bath and beauty products business in San Antonio when the pandemic threw her off course. “It was just a total loss,” she says. “Our income went from $10,000 to $15,000 a month, to, like, zero.”
It was a common story. COVID-19 has forced nearly half of U.S. microbusinesses—those with 20 or fewer employees—to close, disproportionately impacting businesses owned by women and people of color. Nabors sought emergency funding from LiftFund, a local nonprofit, but the most she could have hoped for was $5,000—not nearly enough to keep her business afloat. That’s when Truist Financial Corporation entered the picture.
The nation’s sixth-largest bank holding company, Truist came into being via a merger between BB&T and SunTrust in December 2019. It was three months before the pandemic would catch the world off guard. But Truist was ready.
From the beginning, Truist’s purpose has been “to inspire and build better lives and communities.” To us at Carpenter Group, those words embody Truist’s commitment to its customers and its communities in equal measure.
Even before the beginning—in July 2019—BB&T and SunTrust, as separate entities, joined forces to create a community benefits plan that would lend $60 billion to low- and moderate-income borrowers and communities.
But it was the pandemic that truly positioned Truist to bring its mission to life. In March 2020 the bank came together with the Truist Foundation and the Truist Charitable Fund to form Truist Cares which has provided more than $50 million in pandemic-related disaster relief and assistance to communities and individuals across the country.
While the funding is channeled through local and regional organizations, its impact is directly and deeply personal. When COVID cases spiked across southwest Georgia early in the pandemic and vital PPE was in dangerously short supply, a $500,000 grant enabled the Phoebe Putney Health System to acquire the equipment it needed to ensure the safety of staff and patients. In Northern Cambria, Pennsylvania, a small community tucked deep in the Allegheny Mountains, Truist Care-funded connectivity upgrades have enabled firefighters, paramedics and frontline healthcare workers to respond more quickly to emergencies, averting disaster and saving lives.
And in San Antonio, $1 million in new funding from Truist Cares enabled LiftFund to provide relief grants to 80 small businesses. Among them was a $25,000 grant that enabled Kela Nabors to keep her business, Organically Bath & Beauty, going.
Store traffic had dwindled and Nabors saw little chance of reviving it. Instead, she revamped her website, invested in digital ads and expanded her online presence. As her exposure grew, so did online sales—to as much as seven times what they’d been before the pandemic, when her company had three employees, including herself and her husband. Today it has eight.
“LiftFund knows me, my story and my business,” says Nabors. “The fact that Truist gave the grant to a local agency that maintains a good relationship with the community and knows their clients — I feel like that is so important.”
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About Brand Acts of Kindness®
Brand Acts of Kindness® is a series from Carpenter Group that spotlights companies across industries that are living their brand values in addressing the unprecedented challenges facing the world today.
The series initially headlined companies assisting healthcare workers and first responders, as well as communities, businesses and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also highlight brands taking the lead in supporting social and racial justice, LGBTQ rights, sustainability and the environment. Their stories show how innovation, resolve and action, built on a solid value proposition, can both strengthen a brand and help create a better world.
About Carpenter Group
Carpenter Group is an independent, woman-owned strategic branding, messaging and marketing communications firm that has delivered results-driven solutions to financial, professional services and technology firms for 30+ years.
Our broad cross-discipline experience enables us to craft brand messaging and carry it through to the channels that most effectively connect with our clients’ target audience, from editorial content to advertising to event marketing and more.