Detroit Regional Chamber > Racial Justice & Economic Equity > ‘We Can be a For-Profit Company and Have a Purpose’: Bank of America’s Estrella Crawford on Its 2022 Day of Giving

‘We Can be a For-Profit Company and Have a Purpose’: Bank of America’s Estrella Crawford on Its 2022 Day of Giving

December 13, 2022

“We can be a for-profit company and have a purpose.”
– Estrella “Star” Crawford, Senior Vice President; Market Executive – Detroit, Bank of America

At the end of November, Bank of America Michigan hosted its annual Get Involved, Volunteer, Engage (GIVE) event, first created to recognize the recipients of the bank’s largest grant award, Bank of America Neighborhood Builders, during the organization’s “Day of Giving.” It has since expanded to recognize all of Bank of America’s community partners, grant and sponsorship recipients, and volunteers from each year.  

“We didn’t just want to celebrate one awardee. We wanted to recognize all the community partners that we supported with grants and even sponsorships throughout the year,” said Estrella “Star” Crawford, Senior Vice President and Detroit Market Executive for Bank of America. “We wanted to also create a celebration that not only recognized the organizations that we donated to, but we also wanted to recognize the people who were supporting them: the volunteers. So now, that grew the party even bigger.” 

A Look into Bank of America’s “Day of Giving” 

Though “GIVE” was one of the larger events during the “Day of Giving,” it was not the only one. The day also consisted of:  

  • A virtual town hall where leadership recognized the 64 organizations that Bank of America Michigan supported in 2022 through grant funding, which includes the Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation. 
  • Volunteer visits at local nonprofits, including the YMCA, Michigan Humane, MCHS, United Way, and Forgotten Harvest. 
  • A small business roundtable that included a community assessment, featuring Bank of America senior leadership and local organizations that support small businesses, such as TechTown Detroit, Detroit Economic Growth Club, and the Black Chamber of Commerce. 

According to Crawford, Bank of America intentionally developed its Day of Giving to help metro Detroit nonprofits get recognized without hosting their own fundraising events. She said volunteering is a big part of the day because it allows the organization to support the nonprofits its employees care most about. Additionally, the roundtable lets the organization gain insight into the community’s needs through conversations with organizations directly working with them. 

“If you see the nonprofits, they are always doing some type of fundraiser, dinner, [or] gala – something to help bring in more funding. It’s a lot of work, it’s very expensive, and sometimes the profit for them is maybe $50,000, maybe $60,000, and they spend $100,000. That’s a lot of work; that’s a lot of manpower,” said Crawford. “So, this was my gift back to not just recognize our Builders but to give back to them and say, ‘Hey, you know what: you’ve worked hard all year. Come and sit down, and now you don’t have to be the one to do this event. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy being recognized.’” 

2022 Neighborhood Builders Awardees 

As the awardees of the 2022 Neighborhood Builders grant, Abayomi Community Development Corporation and Racquet Up Detroittook a little more away besides recognition and the $200,000 in unrestricted funding and leadership training for their executive teams. The grantees also received small vignettes they can use for any business needs, created by Akila Atkins, owner of Detroit Digital Media, a Black-owned business.  

“I was like, when you record them, they don’t need to say, ‘Thank you, Bank of America.’ I don’t want them to do that. I want them to tell the story of what the organization does and what they do, so that way they can use this as a video anywhere they go to help get them the funding that they need. Another gift to them,” said Crawford. “It’s not about us. It’s about them. We believe that we’re only as strong as the community that we serve.” 

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