Freedom Center and First Financial Bank team up to develop financial literacy and implicit bias training
Sponsorship will offer future programming free of charge
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and First Financial Bank (Nasdaq: FFBC) have announced a year-long collaboration to increase financial literacy and address implicit bias. By combining First Financial Bank’s sponsorship support and expertise in financial education with the Freedom Center’s approach to combating implicit bias and history expertise, the two organizations are developing programming that will address wealth disparity through financial literacy.
As part of the collaboration, First Financial Bank will support ongoing Freedom Center programming around implicit bias – the attitudes and stereotypes that unconsciously affect our thinking, actions and decisions. These biases can have implications in business, education and everyday life, hampering the development of inclusive companies, schools and communities. Implicit bias training will be available as part of the museum experience and as paid training. First Financial Bank is excited to offer the training to its associates as part of its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Program.
The Freedom Center will join in the expansion of First Financial Bank’s financial education programs, which help individuals achieve financial stability and reach their personal financial goals. The joint initiative will include a financial literacy training series that will be offered as in-person and virtual classes and as self-serve tools.
Together, the two organizations will help address issues and provide resources that will help individuals and businesses in the community grow and thrive personally and professionally.
“Financial literacy is a critical component to addressing the wealth disparity in this country,” said Woody Keown, Jr., president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “By simultaneously increasing financial literacy and combating implicit bias and systemic racism that further widens that gap, we can take real steps to close the wealth gap in this country. The support of First Financial Bank will give us the needed resources to begin to address that divide in our community.”
First Financial Bank’s strategic intent is to be woven into the communities it serves. This includes working with organizations to provide financial education training and program support for economically disadvantaged individuals and families.
“We are excited to participate in this sponsorship of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center,” said Archie Brown, president and chief executive officer of First Financial Bank. “Promoting greater financial literacy has been an important part of the support we offer to our communities. I'm confident that the collective strengths of our two organizations will deliver positive learning opportunities today and for years to come.”
Financial education plays an important role in adult success, both personally and professionally, but few schools include it in their curriculum. That education and training is often reserved for the wealthy, which, due to a history of wealth disparity in the country, often means white individuals.
The Freedom Center and First Financial Bank are working to provide equal access to financial education. Among the proposed topics for the future programming are the importance of access to credit, how getting a loan or credit works, the best ways to save money, how to establish a budget and the basics of managing money. Historical context is important to understanding the current wealth disparity in the United States, something the Freedom Center will include in the training.
The Freedom Center and First Financial Bank are in the process of developing the financial literacy programming with plans to launch the programming in April.
About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at freedomcenter.org, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery, endslaverynow.org.
About First Financial Bancorp.
First Financial Bancorp. is a Cincinnati, Ohio based bank holding company. As of December 31, 2020, the Company had $16.0 billion in assets, $9.9 billion in loans, $12.2 billion in deposits and $2.3 billion in shareholders’ equity. The Company’s subsidiary, First Financial Bank, founded in 1863, provides banking and financial services products through its six lines of business: Commercial, Retail Banking, Investment Commercial Real Estate, Mortgage Banking, Commercial Finance and Wealth Management. These business units provide traditional banking services to business and retail clients. Wealth Management provides wealth planning, portfolio management, trust and estate, brokerage and retirement plan services and had approximately $3.0 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2020. The Company operated 143 full service banking centers as of December 31, 2020, primarily in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, while the Commercial Finance business lends into targeted industry verticals on a nationwide basis. Additional information about the Company, including its products, services and banking locations, is available at www.bankatfirst.com.