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BMO Harris Bank First Company to Support Chicago Mayor's Economic Development Plan with $10 Million Donation to United Way's Neighborhood Network
  • Largest donation in both company and United Way Metro Chicago history fuels economic transformation in high-priority areas
  • Bank CEO urges other companies to support United Way and city's INVEST South/West initiative.

CHICAGO, Oct. 21, 2019 /CNW/ - BMO Harris Bank today announced a $10 million commitment to United Way of Metro Chicago at an event hosted by Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot in the city's Austin neighborhood. The donation supports the United Way's Neighborhood Network, an initiative designed to reduce economic disparity and create sustainable opportunities in 10 neighborhoods across Chicagoland. This marks the largest donation in BMO Harris history and furthers the bank's long-standing commitment to the United Way and the communities the bank serves.

"BMO Harris Bank's generous gift to the United Way of Metro Chicago represents their steadfast commitment to corporate citizenship, enhances equity throughout Chicago's 77 neighborhoods and helps to reverse the tide of disinvestment that too often occurs west of Ashland Avenue and south of Roosevelt Road," said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "Partnerships like this one will create lasting, measurable change and bolster our efforts to create a network of communities for transformative growth powered by our shared investments in infrastructure, commercial activity, quality of life projects and much more in 10 neighborhoods on Chicago's South and West Sides." 

BMO was the cornerstone investor of the United Way Neighborhood Network that launched in 2015 to create and implement break-through strategies to reduce economic disparity. Bringing together business leaders and community leaders, the Network strives to engage residents, build a greater sense of community, expand education and connect residents to workforce opportunities. BMO was the founding investor of the initiative, having made an initial donation of $1.5 million that has grown over time. Earlier this year, BMO's U.S. CEO David Casper took the lead as the 2019 United Way campaign chair, a role designed to rally other businesses to support the cause.

"Economic inclusion and strong neighborhoods go hand in hand," said Casper. "As an institution with deep Chicago roots, we consider it our responsibility to boldly grow the good across the city, and that includes building strong, resilient neighborhoods. BMO is proud to take a leadership role alongside United Way in encouraging other Chicago corporations and business leaders to also make meaningful commitments to strengthen these communities. We look forward to working with the entire City of Chicago to remove barriers to economic inclusion for all Chicagoans."

"Our partners in Austin have a powerful vision for the future and we're honored to help accelerate the implementation of that vision with generous corporate partners like BMO," said Sean Garrett, president and CEO of United Way of Metro Chicago. "Other neighborhoods across the city are doing this work as well, and we're excited to partner with them as we continue toward building a stronger Chicago region. Transformational commitments like BMO's $10 million donation will accelerate the pace at which we can affect change."

BMO's latest donation will be heavily concentrated on the Austin neighborhood, to help execute their community revitalization plan and to support programs, social service infrastructure and capital improvement. The remaining investment will be directed to build infrastructure development and organizational capacity across United Way's other Neighborhood Networks, in alignment with the City of Chicago's INVEST South/West program.

Casper added, "The United Way's Neighborhood Network initiative, paired with Mayor Lightfoot's economic development plan, is an opportunity for bold community and business leaders to step forward and act as change makers, improving the quality of life and driving lasting improvements."

"Austin is now at this tipping point. Everyone is poised to take action on the things that they have all identified are holding them back," said Darnell Shields, executive director of Austin Coming Together. "Without United Way and its supporters — led by BMO Harris Bank — and without the Neighborhood Network Initiative, I honestly don't think Austin Coming Together would have evolved into the force that we are today."

BMO Harris and its parent company, BMO Financial Group, have a long history of supporting their communities across North America. BMO announced earlier this year its Purpose to "Boldly Grow the Good in Business and Life" by doubling its commitments to a sustainable future, thriving economies and an inclusive society. Last fall, BMO announced a $10 million donation to United Way Greater Toronto to tackle economic disparity in the city.

About BMO Harris Bank|
BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through more than 500 branches and fee-free access to over 40,000 ATMs across the United States. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the United States. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, visit the company fact sheet. Accounts are subject to approval. BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a highly diversified financial services provider with total assets of CDN$839 billion, as of (July 31, 2019), and more than 45,000 employees.

SOURCE BMO Harris Bank

For further information: Media contact: Kathleen Szot, Chicago, Kathleen.Szot@bmo.com (312) 881-0388

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