LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Russell neighborhood is among nine neighborhoods across the country receiving $20 million each as part of Fifth Third Bank’s Accelerating Racial Equality, Equity and Inclusion initiative.
"We always had hope that this would happen one day. Now it's a reality that it’s happening in the Russell neighborhood," Jackie Floyd with Russell: A Place of Promise said.
Floyd has lived in the Russell neighborhood since the 1990s and said the area, known for its rich history, is full of love.
Russell was once known as Louisville’s Harlem because of its businesses and thriving nightclubs.
Over the years, the neighborhood faced hardships that have had lasting impacts, including redlining and predatory lending, where borrowers were unable to pay back debt owed due to high-interest rates or unfair terms.
The investment program is part of Fifth Third Bank’s $2.8 billion commitment that will help with lending investments, financial accessibility and philanthropy.
With the help of community partners like Russell: A Place of Promise and the Louisville Urban League, the money will help small businesses gain better access to homeownership and economic growth.
"This is about keeping promises to a community that is owed everything. I think that's what today shows. This is really how you respond to redlining – how you respond to so much that is broken in our society," Urban League CEO and President Sadiqa Reynolds said.
The investment funds will be given out over the next three years as Fifth Third is in the early stages of the program.
"Ain’t no stopping us now," Floyd added. "We're on the move. We're there we're moving forward despite what goes on in the community or what people might think. We got this and we're moving forward.”
Officials plan to meet with Russell community members to decide how the funds will be released.