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Fifth Third Bank supports ROCK Initiative with $20 million investment

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Fifth Third Bank will invest $20 million in the Arlington Woods neighborhood in the form of loans, philanthropic support, grants and other investments over a three-year period in partnership with Eastern Star Church.

The bank and church announced the investment Oct. 20 outside of the ROCK Community Hub, which includes a grocery store and apartments. The investment from Fifth Third will support the church’s ROCK Initiative.

“You are investing in transforming the lives of people with great need,” Executive Pastor Anthony Murdock said under a large tent in the parking lot.

Most of the money will go to JEWEL Human Services Corporation, a community arm of Eastern Star.

Arlington Woods has a poverty rate of nearly 30%, according to Indy Vitals. About 60% of residents are Black, and median household income is about $21,000 less than all of Marion County.

The Arlington Woods neighborhood is one of nine majority-Black communities Fifth Third Bank will make investments in as part of its Neighborhood Investment Program, which totals $2.8 billion.

About $18 million of the money going to Arlington Woods will go toward affordable housing, mortgages and other priorities established through a series of community meetings. The other $2 million will go toward philanthropic efforts. The money will also support small businesses and other revitalization.

The goal is to “change the trajectories of the neighborhoods we call home,” said Jada Grandy-Mock, chief corporate community economic development officer at Fifth Third.

The investment feels personal to Grandy-Mock, who grew up in a housing project in Pittsburgh, where there was little access to healthy food, health care and education opportunities.

The people in Arlington Woods, just like everywhere else, have goals, she said.

“They all have dreams, and we want to be part of that,” Grandy-Mock said.

The investment is part of Phase II of the ROCK Initiative. Other projects in Phase II include a new education center, multi-family affordable housing, new two-story homes, a single-story retail space, and a public garden and green space.

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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