Interview by Mary Martin. Photo courtesy of Capital One.
On October 15 and 16, Capital One is hosting its fifth annual Reimagine Communities Summit. This no-cost virtual event is open to all nonprofit, corporate, and social good leaders who are looking to learn from each other. With the event’s focus on innovation and creativity in the face of layered challenges, speakers will include Michael J. Sorrell, President of Paul Quinn College, Patrick Brandt, President, Shiftsmart + Co-Founder, Shiftsmart, Ashley Brundage, Executive Director of Housing Stability and Senior Vice President of Community Impact, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, and Dan Pallotta, Author, Activist, and Humanitarian.
Ahead of the event, Director of Social Innovation for Capital One, Monica Shortino, shares with us about her hopes for not only the Reimagine Communities Summit, but the future of community partnership.
Tell us about how the Reimagine Communities Summit began and why this is a priority for the Capital One team.
Capital One collaborates with nonprofit and community leaders around the nation. We get to see best in class programming and innovative delivery approaches, and have an opportunity to bring those together. In our conversations with local partners, the feedback we often hear is the lack of funding for professional development or access to learn more about best practices. That’s why in 2015 Capital One created the Reimagine Communities Summit – to bring together nonprofits, community and civic leaders and even corporate allies to share best practices and innovations in order to learn from each other at no cost to attendees. Each year, we crowdsource topics to ensure the Summit is meeting community leaders where they are and bring the resources to equip our partners with the skills, tools and information most needed so they can make the communities where we live and work even more vibrant.
As Director of Social Innovation, how are you focusing on collaboration between a corporation like Capital One and the nonprofit/social entrepreneurship sector? What do you think you can learn from each other?
Collaboration is a powerful tool in building programs that create maximum impact in our local communities. One of the things that I think makes community work so special is the shared mission of making our communities stronger and willingness to work together for the good of our communities. At Capital One, we have been proud to partner with organizations like:
Major League Hacking, NAF, Dallas ISD, Plano ISD and Uplift Education to create the Basic TrAIning: Bot Camp, a first-of-its-kind AI curriculum for high school students
The DEC Network and The University of Texas at Dallas to provide programming for women entrepreneurs in North Texas
The City of Plano as the founding sponsor of the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program, providing valuable internships for high school students
These are just a few of the strategic groups that Capital One has partnered with so that together, we can continue to build a vibrant future for North Texas.
How is Capital One making various resources available to social good organizations here in North Texas?
Since 2008 Capital One has been proud to call North Texas home and we are passionate about making the communities where we live and work even more vibrant. In 2019 alone, our associates volunteered more than 32,000 hours and we have partnered with local nonprofits and organizations through grants, in-kind services, sponsorships and strategic collaborations.
In 2015 we launched Future Edge DFW, a five-year campaign to equip our community with the tools and resources to succeed in the 21st century. Just this week, we launched the Capital One Impact Initiative focused on creating a world where everyone has an equal opportunity to prosper by advocating for an inclusive society, building thriving communities and creating financial tools that enrich lives. Efforts will come to life through:
Racial Equity – investing in diverse communities and businesses, and supporting organizations that expand economic opportunity, particularly for Black and Latinx communities.
Affordable Housing – providing capital to finance affordable rental housing developments that meet the needs of a diverse range of households and communities in partnership with nonprofit organizations, for-profit real estate developers and government.
Small Business Support – accelerating investments with Black and Latinx partners and suppliers across our businesses and expanding mentoring, training and advisory programs designed to help Black and Latinx businesses and nonprofits succeed.
Workforce Development – expanding programs that provide opportunities for individuals who face impediments to unleash their potential and thrive in a rapidly changing employment market.
Financial Well-Being – creating simple, digital products that meet customers where they are to serve their needs.
What causes are you personally passionate about and how has that played out over your life? Are you involved as a volunteer locally?
As someone who believes strongly in giving back, I love to volunteer in my local community from my sons’ school to local nonprofits. The pandemic has given me the opportunity to serve meals at a mobile food pantry, lead small student groups at church, prepare meal kits for essential workers and serve in an advisory role on local committees such as Communities Foundation of Texas and Junior League. I have also had the opportunity to serve in leadership roles for organizations making incredible differences in our local communities such as serving as the past president of Plano Youth Leadership.
COVID-19 has certainly shifted the way resources are allocated for nonprofit groups. What did that shift look like for the team at Capital One?
At Capital One, the health, safety and well-being of our customers, associates, and communities are our top priority. That is why earlier this year we committed $50 million to help address the rapidly changing needs of our communities impacted by COVID-19. In North Texas we rapidly deployed relief grants to the most pressing needs around food and hunger relief, housing and shelter security, workforce development, support to small business owners, and assistance for low-income individuals.
We partnered with innovative organizations like Get Shift Done, an initiative that gives hourly workers displaced by COVID-19 direct income by working at nonprofits such as food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in need of help to package food to those in need. Additionally, we have focused on digital capabilities and access, student support and education, and financial stability programs, working with organizations like NAF to create an all-virtual internship program for 40 Dallas ISD students this summer.
Our associates are participating in virtual mentorship and skills-based volunteerism and we are continuing to explore new ways to meet our community’s growing needs. Just this week, we announced the launch of the Capital One Impact Initiative, an initial $200 million, five-year commitment to support growth in underserved communities and advance socioeconomic mobility by closing gaps in equity and opportunity. You can find out more here.
What are you looking forward to most ahead of the Summit? What value is it bringing to nonprofit leaders who attend?
This year has been incredibly challenging for our communities and nonprofits. I love that the Capital One Reimagine Communities Summit provides an opportunity to spotlight the nonprofit innovation happening around the nation that is allowing more people to be served. My hope is that attendees walk away refreshed and inspired to tackle all of the challenges that lie ahead for the sake of our communities where we live and work. Together we can foster a world where everyone has an equal opportunity to prosper.