Fifth Third Bank will invest up to $20 million to assist Historic West End

By Glenn Burkins, QCity Metro

Fifth Third Bank will commit up to $20 million in various forms of financial assistance to aid the economic development of Historic West End, the company announced Thursday.

The assistance will come in the form of small business loans, mortgages, investments and philanthropic support, including grants from the Fifth Third Foundation.

The commitment would be one of the largest yet in the historically Black community, which in recent years has seen a wave of public and private investments.

Nationwide, the bank has committed $2.8 billion to assist communities within its 11-state footprint. Charlotte is one of nine cities identified this week to receive Fifth Third assistance.

Bank officials made the announcement under a large tent erected at the West Complex, surrounded by a who’s who of local officials.

In Charlotte, Fifth Third Bank will partner with LISC Charlotte, which will administer the funds to three local organizations serving the city’s west side.

LISC Charlotte is the local arm of a New York-based nonprofit that works in underserved communities to assist with affordable housing and economic development.

Lee Fite, president of Fifth Third’s Mid-Atlantic region, called the three-year commitment a “thoughtfully structured approach to solve existing real issues.”

“This program is more than simply providing capital; it is about partnering directly with communities to make a lasting impact that benefits everyone,” he said in a statement.

He said the bank is looking to make a “significant impact” in the Historic West End by targeting investments in specific areas and collaborating with the neighborhood and its leaders.

Spending plans

In addition to LISC, much of the money committed by Fifth Third will find its way to three organizations — Historic West End Partners, an economic development group; For the Struggle, a community outreach organization; and the West Side Community Land Trust, which is working to preserve affordable housing in west Charlotte.

“You’re all soldiers in the army that are changing this community,” Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said of the women who leads those three organizations.

Read more at QCity Metro

The Charlotte Journalism Collaborative is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems.