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Capital One Pro Bono Partners with CDFIs to Strengthen Our Communities

Guest blog post by Capital One's Ashley Trick and Kelly Adams

Pro Bono is a foundational component of Capital One’s Impact Initiative, an initial $200 million commitment to support growth in underserved communities and advance socioeconomic mobility by closing gaps in equity and opportunity. The Impact Initiative builds upon Capital One’s mission and supports racial equity, affordable housing, small business support, workforce development, and financial well-being.

When it comes to small businesses, we know that financial capital is critical across the continuum to fuel business launch, growth, and expansion goals, but deep inequities persist. According to the Federal Reserve’s analysis of overall funding efforts, 52 percent of small businesses have unmet financing needs and Black and Hispanic women entrepreneurs received just 0.43 percent of $164 billion venture capital funding in 2020.

To bridge this gap and support more organizations including CDFIs, Capital One Pro Bono has established new practice areas that provide subject matter expertise across nine strategic disciplines. Practice areas include:

Brand – How an organization brands itself and communicates its values, services, or impact. Communications – How an organization leads communication strategy and manages external insights. Cybersecurity – How an organization manages cybersecurity risk. Data – How an organization analyzes and effectively uses information collected. Design – How an organization creates and plans services and experiences. Finance – How an organization financially forecasts, budgets, and plans. Legal – How an organization prevents and handles legal issues. Product – How an organization builds digital tools to enable client experiences and outcomes. Technology – How an organization effectively leverages advanced systems and tech platforms.

Last year, Capital One also launched a Pro Bono Request for Proposals (RFP) process to provide better infrastructure and resources to support successful partner outcomes. Through the first RFP in 2022, the program has been able to partner with eight CDFIs across the country: The African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs Inc. Business Investment Growth/BIG Austin Community Fund of North Miami Dade, Inc. Enterprise Community Partners Greater Cincinnati Microenterprise Initiative Neighborhood Development Center Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago TruFund Financial Services

One of the program’s partners, TruFund Financial Services, is working with Design associates at Capital One to develop a customer journey map and service design blueprint to further enhance and improve their customer experience.

“I’ve loved having the opportunity through Capital One Pro Bono to partner with TruFund, an organization working to close the gap of racial and economic disparities,” said Claudia Noto, the Capital One project lead for TruFund. “As a design practitioner who believes in the power of design strategy, I am excited to get to work with a mission-oriented organization that is excited about improving customer experience and lacks dedicated resources to do some of the initial strategic design research. Since joining Capital One, I’ve been struck by their dedication to changing banking for good. For me, the company’s dedication, support, and celebration of the Pro Bono program is an extension of this mission that I am happy to be working towards.”

Capital One will offer the pro bono program to more OFN member CDFIs later this year. More details to come! You can learn more about the Capital One Impact Initiative and our commitment to catalyze economic growth here.

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