Member Highlight: Lynette Bell
This week marked not only the launch of the Truist Foundation, affiliated with the bank formed by the merger of SunTrust and BB&T, but also the announcement of the foundation’s first president, Lynette Bell.
Bell says that while the organization will build on the charitable legacies of both companies, including SunTrust’s historical presence in the Southeast, the Truist Foundation will take its own approach to philanthropy.
“The Truist Foundation is a new entity with new strategic giving priorities,” Lynette says. “The Truist Foundation strives to better the quality of life of individuals and communities. We partner with strong, innovative nonprofit organizations to increase their impact and expand their reach.”
At launch, the foundation’s four focus areas are leadership development, economic mobility, thriving communities and educational equity. As it advances these priorities, it will embrace a formal grant application process and, importantly, a new board that includes three independent community members.
“As we formed Truist Foundation, we were able to hear directly from clients, constituents, nonprofits and community-based organizations,” Lynette says. “What we uncovered is that giving back to our communities has been critical to helping communities grow and develop.”
The Truist Foundation marks the latest chapter in a combined 275-year history for SunTrust and BB&T. The foundation, Lynette says, is reaching out to make sure stakeholders are aware of the new name and its connection to a long history of community support.
“On March 2, we launched the Truist Foundation with a new website, and we’re using grassroots efforts to share information with nonprofits about our strategic giving priorities and how to apply for grants,” she says. “BB&T and SunTrust have a legacy of supporting communities, and we’ll continue to inspire and build better lives and communities through grants to nonprofits that focus on leadership development, economic mobility, thriving communities and educational equity.”
Lynette is well aware of SunTrust’s legacy – prior to the merger, she had worked for the bank for more than three decades in several roles, including enterprise community reinvestment officer, where she led SunTrust’s community development program to support underserved communities. She also has held positions in operations, regulatory affairs, bank examinations and compliance.
In her latest role, Lynette says a top priority will be ensuring the foundation’s work makes a real impact in lives and communities.
“During my tenure with SunTrust, I learned that resiliency has to be part of my DNA, flexibility is essential, and my personal values align with the company’s purpose-driven work,” she says. “I’m looking forward to meeting with nonprofit organizations that are building innovative programs and platforms to address community needs.”