Reflections from Bob Sullivan, Regional President, Fifth Third Bank - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Reflections from Bob Sullivan, Regional President, Fifth Third Bank

Fifth Third Family Pavilion at Navy Pier

“You build a better bank, by building a better community.”

Throughout my years at Fifth Third Bank, I’ve found myself returning to this fundamental truth: You build a better bank, by building a better community. Most recently it was at a breakfast convening of the Metropolitan Planning Council’s Executive Advisors, a group regional CEOs and other corporate officers who care deeply about our region and support the work of MPC.

Fifth Third has been a longtime investor of MPC because we believe in their work and their approach: convening community, government and business to tackle some of the toughest issues facing our city and our region. We discussed many of these issues at the Executive Advisor breakfast: lack of equity, uneven development, and crumbling infrastructure to name a few. They are the very concerns that are covered in newspaper headlines and the ones—as a father and grandfather—that keep me up at night.

And while the solutions and fixes are complicated, I revisit the idea that the only way we are going to improve as a city and a region is by building better communities.

Our breakfast was held at Navy Pier, a historic and iconic Midwest destination that’s vital to Chicago’s growth and development. I’m proud that Fifth Third invested in its recent transformation and helped develop the new Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion. This investment was designed not just to create a space tailored for families, but to showcase Chicago’s diversity in people and businesses and to boost the local economy.

Hundreds of jobs were created during the project and the business partners we cultivated continue to contribute to the local economy in a way that makes Navy Pier especially unique as a thriving cultural center and destination. More than 9 million annual guests visit the Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion and the experience they have—and the dollars they spend—are helping to build a better Chicago.

But that is just one example. At the breakfast, my colleague and Chicago regional president of Fifth Third Bank, Eric S. Smith, highlighted our partnership with JP Morgan Chase. It’s not often that a bank like Fifth Third will work alongside a competitor, but when it comes to the initiative we launched to boost minority entrepreneurs on Chicago’s South and West sides, there’s no competition.

Together, we are investing $5.5 million to launch the Chicago Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, which provides minority founders in Chicago access to capital, education and other resources to help grow their businesses. Not only will this effort create jobs, but it will help strengthen communities for generations to come.

Equity, good paying jobs and schools that prepare our children for the future…they all start with strong communities. Fifth Third has taken a strong step in ensuring our neighborhoods thrive, but we are certainly not alone.

Here are just a few examples that were raised at the breakfast and are having tremendous impact on our city:

There’s no doubt our region faces challenges, but I’m both inspired and hopeful by the progress we are making. I join my fellow MPC Executive Advisors in the commitment that we can build a better city by building better communities.

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For more than 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area's toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow. Read more about our work »

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