BBVA Compass sees promise in partnering for a cause | Crain's Houston

BBVA Compass sees promise in partnering for a cause

  • Scott Campbell, Executive Director of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Photo courtesy of Elton John AIDS Foundation.

    Scott Campbell, Executive Director of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Photo courtesy of Elton John AIDS Foundation.

  • Reymundo Ocañas, BBVA Compass Director of Corporate Responsibility and Reputation. Photo courtesy of BBVA Compass

    Reymundo Ocañas, BBVA Compass Director of Corporate Responsibility and Reputation. Photo courtesy of BBVA Compass

Birmingham-based BBVA Compass awarded $300,000 to the Elton John AIDS Foundation to support the foundation’s work in the Southern U.S.

This donation marks the financial institution’s largest contribution to a foundation targeting HIV, said Reymundo OcañasBBVA Compass director of corporate responsibility and reputation. 

Each year the BBVA Compass Foundation, its charitable sponsorships and employee-giving program, contributes around $11.6 million to non-profits.

BBVA Compass and the Elton John AIDS Foundation have worked together and identified organizations across several markets like Florida, Alabama and Texas that would benefit from support in the form of grants, said Ocañas.

“BBVA Compass understands for organizations like ours what’s important for us to remain vital and robust is dollars,” Scott Campbell, executive director of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, said. “They know we are there working to support organizations in the areas most affected. They are willing to be a corporation that speaks out loudly to make their support known.”

The Elton John AIDS Foundation has raised over $350 million to combat stigma, prevent infections, provide treatment and services and motivate governments to end AIDS. The nonprofit was founded in 1992 in the U.S. and in 1993 in the United Kingdom. 

It’s particularly critical for organizations like the Elton John AIDS Foundation to support work in the Southern states, said Campbell, as that area is home to 44% of people diagnosed with HIV in the U.S.

"We know we cannot be everything to everyone, so we try to focus our efforts on those that would be most impactful in the areas where we live and work and play," Ocañas said. "Our community relations officers are embedded in their communities and know them well, and we rely on them to identify unmet needs so we can step in and make a difference."

BBVA Compass—which began its partnership with the Elton John AIDS Foundation after supporting the non-profit's fall gala in New York last year—took a public stance in favor of the 2015 Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, designed to protect the rights of gays, minorities and others. The ordinance, dubbed HERO, ultimately failed to pass with the majority of voters striking it down.

For Ocañas, it that was a disappointment, but he said the bank is standing on the right side of history. “It’s really important because we want to be able to hold our head high in front of [our] customers and employees,” he said.

October 7, 2016 - 1:34pm