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March 13, 2019 | Newsroom

Umpqua Bank Launches Multi-Year Economic Empowerment Program

New Philanthropic Approach Includes Investment of $1 Million, Commitment of Company’s Leadership, Resources and Expertise

PORTLAND, Ore., (March 13, 2019)—Umpqua Bank, a subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corporation (UMPQ), has committed $1 million to four Portland Metro-based nonprofits to expand economic education and empowerment opportunities for underserved populations. As part of the Economic Empowerment Cohort formed and led by Umpqua, Bienestar and African American Alliance for Homeownership, Metropolitan Family Service, Self Enhancement, Inc., and Gateway to College National Network will advance initiatives that expand access to job and financial support services, affordable housing, post-secondary education and career readiness opportunities.

In addition to its $1 million financial investment, Umpqua is leading a multi-year collaborative partnership with the nonprofit cohort that includes significant investment of company resources and expertise to establish and sustain innovative economic empowerment and equality programs.

According to Umpqua Bank President & CEO Cort O’Haver, this new program is guided by a larger vision to create an approach to corporate philanthropy that’s more holistic and impactful for communities.

“Umpqua is aligning our business and philanthropic goals and mobilizing our financial resources, executive leadership, community investment initiatives, and deep bench of expertise to help these outstanding organizations work together and build a stronger, more equitable region,” said O’Haver. “For the next three years, we’re making their work our work in ways that create value and achieve results. Together, our goal is to accelerate progress on this important issue at a time when economic disparity in Portland Metro continues to grow.”

Umpqua’s Economic Empowerment Cohort includes the following nonprofits:

Bienestar and African American Alliance for Homeownership (AAAH). Bienestar provides affordable housing to Latino farm workers and other low-income families in Washington County. AAAH is a community-based HUD-approved housing counseling agency serving African American and other future homeowners in Portland. As part of the Umpqua cohort, Bienestar and AAAH will combine resources, and culturally-specific expertise and programs to expand affordable home purchase in Washington County for low-income populations, including families displaced by lack of affordability throughout the region. Umpqua is providing seed funding and expertise to establish and sustain the partnership.

Metropolitan Family Service (MFS). MFS is a Portland-based nonprofit committed to strengthening early childhood development and youth success, advancing individual and family economic prosperity, and building effective approaches to community-based health and wellness across the entire lifespan. Partnering with Umpqua and organizations within the cohort will enable MFS to advance key financial health initiatives, including programs that connect low-income women to new jobs and career education. It will also help expand education and access to the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is significantly underutilized by low-income families for a variety of reasons.

Self Enhancement, Inc. (SEI). For over 38 years, SEI has been a change agent in the City of Portland, striving to meet the complex needs of youth and their families by helping them to overcome cultural, educational and economic barriers. SEI is the second largest minority-owned organization in the state of Oregon and serves over 16,000 youth and families annually. SEI’s mission is to guide youth from historically underserved backgrounds to realize their full potential. The Umpqua cohort will support a new Post High Leadership Academy to help African American and other underserved students attain financial self-sufficiency by supporting their transition through post-secondary education into a chosen career path.

Gateway to College National Network. Headquartered in Portland, Gateway to College supports communities in creating pathways for students who have dropped out, or are educationally off track, to complete their high school education and work towards a post-secondary degree. Through the cohort, Gateway to College will expand its program in the Portland region, opening educational and economic success for roughly 29,000 local youth ages 16-24 not currently in school or working.

About Umpqua Bank
Umpqua Bank, headquartered in Roseburg, Ore., is a subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corporation, and has locations across Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada. Umpqua Bank has been recognized for its innovative customer experience and banking strategy by national publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Fast Company and CNBC. The company has been recognized for eight years in a row on FORTUNE magazine's list of the country's "100 Best Companies to Work For," and was recently named by The Portland Business Journal the Most Admired Financial Services Company in Oregon for the fourteenth consecutive year. In addition to its retail banking presence, Umpqua Bank also owns Financial Pacific Leasing, Inc., a nationally recognized commercial finance company that provides equipment leases to businesses. A subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corporation, Umpqua Investments, Inc., provides retail brokerage and investment advisory services in offices throughout Washington, Oregon, and California. 

About Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation
The Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation recognizes the fundamental connection between education and economic prosperity. It works to strengthen the communities Umpqua Bank serves by investing in organizations and initiatives that expand access to education and create economic opportunity for children and families. The foundation was formed in April 2014 to demonstrate the company’s deep commitment to the communities it serves.