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Sustaining Communities

American Express believes in enhancing diverse representation and equal opportunities for its colleagues, customers and communities. Our focus on Sustaining Communities builds equity by identifying and supporting organizations that reduce economic, health, educational and racial disparities. Through this grantmaking theme we intend to expand on our philanthropic legacy of saving places by supporting underrepresented heritage while building stronger communities for a more resilient future.

We support nonprofit organizations, focusing on innovative, community-based solutions that address issues of inequality and social justice. Additionally, our funding will support grant programs to build local economies by backing small businesses and building the capacity of nonprofit organizations.


The projects we support sustain communities by delivering measurable outcomes through one or more of the following:

  • Supporting innovative nonprofit organizations deploying community-based solutions to local challenges, including economic revitalization, health interventions, educational enrichment and promoting racial equity.

  • Increasing the capacity of nonprofit partners and small businesses by funding technical assistance providers, enlisting mentors and awarding grants. (Small businesses can only be funded through established nonprofit partners.)

  • Assisting communities impacted by natural and man-made disasters through immediate and long-term relief and recovery efforts.

  • We are especially interested in supporting organizations led by people of color and underrepresented groups.


The Coalition to Back Black Businesses (CBBB)

Support for our $10 million grant to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the CBBB unites the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the National Business League, the U.S. Black Chambers, and Walker’s Legacy for the first time. Launched in September 2020, this initiative provides immediate financial assistance and mentoring for America’s Black-owned small businesses that have been disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a founding partner of this initiative, American Express has pledged to provide grants, training and resources to empower Black-owned small businesses in distressed communities for four years through 2023. In the six months since its founding, several other companies have joined the CBBB to support this unique effort to provide relief and recovery in a challenging economy.

For more information about the Coalition including application timelines, application instructions, click here.

Backing Historic Small Restaurants

Support for Backing Historic Small Restaurants, a program presented by American Express in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to award $1 million to 25 historic and culturally significant restaurants in the United States. Focusing on historic small restaurants owned by people of color, women, and other underrepresented groups, selected restaurants will receive a $40,000 grant to address financial hardships from pandemic, support their recovery and sustain them for the future.

For more information on the Backing Historic Small Restaurants grant program, please visit the National Trust for Historic Preservation here.

National Urban League, New York, NY

Support for the National Urban League to establish a Justice and Social Engagement Division that supports its policy and advocacy work in the United States. The Division’s goal is to remove unjust systemic barriers that limit Black Americans and other people of color from equal opportunities; establish alliances for progressive social change; create new employment opportunities that strengthen local economies; and increase voter education and registration.

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, New York, NY

Support for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund whose mission is to expand democracy, eliminate disparities and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans through litigation, advocacy and public education. In response to both the COVID-19 pandemic and heightened racial tension in the United States, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund continues to reform policing culture and practices by addressing racial bias in policing.

Blueprint for All, London, UK

Support for Blueprint for All (formerly the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust) for a signature program that exposes Black, Asian and minority ethnic and/or underprivileged and marginalized young people to a range of careers in the financial and creative industries. The program helps participants overcome practical barriers and provides the necessary resources to secure employment in their chosen field. Driven by meaningful mentoring and workshops with working professionals who volunteer their expertise, inspirational engagements build the personal and professional networks that were previously out of reach and generate tangible employment opportunities.