December, 2009Bank of America has announced the recipients of its 2009 Neighborhood Excellence Initiative (NEI), which includes nonprofits in 44 U.S. communities and London that will receive investments totaling $20 million.
The nonprofit recipients, known as Neighborhood Builders(®), each receive $200,000 in unrestricted grants, which can be used for operating expenses and to build capacity, a significant need among nonprofits in the current economy. According to the Nonprofit Finance Fund, only 16 percent of nonprofits anticipate being able to cover their operating expenses in both 2009 and 2010, and 93 percent of nonprofits anticipate an increase in service demand throughout the year. In addition to receiving operating funds, the Neighborhood Builders also participate in Bank of America's Neighborhood Excellence Leadership Program(®) with other nonprofit leaders from across the nation.
Through this support, the program addresses critical social issues ranging from housing and hunger to community and youth development by increasing the long-term viability of nonprofits in today's challenging economic environment. Now in its sixth year, Bank of America has committed more than $110 million to nearly 500 high-impact organizations through NEI.
"Bank of America is supporting communities across the country through the Neighborhood Excellence Initiative and other philanthropic, community development and lending and investing programs designed to increase the economic vitality of individuals, businesses and neighborhoods," said Kerry Sullivan, president, Bank of America Charitable Foundation. "As nonprofits face greater challenges and have fewer resources, this program and our larger corporate social responsibility efforts aim to reinvigorate local economies."
Several 2009 Neighborhood Builders are addressing critical housing issues in communities, including Fifth Avenue Committee of New York City and Manna, Inc. of Washington, D.C. Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC) has already developed more than 600 units of affordable housing and is currently developing an additional 1,000 for the formerly homeless, the elderly and other poor and working class New Yorkers in response to surging needs. Its $200,000 grant will enable it to continue training, educating, organizing and supporting the economic and social needs of more than 5,000 low- and moderate-income residents. Manna, Inc., D.C's leading producer of affordable housing, has developed more than 1,000 such homes in 27 years. In response to rising real estate costs in the area, Manna has been a leader in expanding its mission to preserve existing affordable housing by helping tenant associations and co-ops build capacity to purchase and/or renovate their buildings.
"Leadership in our communities is more critical than it has ever been," said Michelle de la Uz, Executive Director of Fifth Avenue Committee. "Fifth Avenue Committee, like so many other organizations, is wrestling with increased demand on a tighter budget. This unrestricted funding and leadership training will be immeasurably valuable in its ability to help FAC serve the community and remain strong now and in the long term."
The North Texas Food Bank in Dallas, another 2009 Neighborhood Builder that has seen a rise in demand over the last year, will be able to serve 800,000 meals to the 13 North Texas counties it supports with its grant.
In Los Angeles, Homeboy Industries, which assists at-risk and former gang-involved youth to become contributing members of the L.A. community, will use its grant to continue delivering numerous social services, such as case management, job placement and training, mental health counseling and education. Homeboy Industries is now the largest gang intervention program in the nation, serving 12,000 clients a year and 8,000 gang members from 700 different gangs.
As part of the Neighborhood Excellence Initiative, local bank and community leaders identify the organizations best positioned to address critical issues facing their neighborhoods. Working with community partners, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation developed the initiative to provide each of the 45 participating markets with essential support through three key programs: Neighborhood Builders, Local Heroes who are each awarded $5,000 to direct to eligible nonprofits of their choice, and Student Leaders(®) who participate in paid summer internships with local nonprofit organizations and a weeklong Bank of America student leadership summit in Washington, D.C. to learn about national service/civic engagement and how nonprofits, businesses and government partner to create positive change.
About the Neighborhood Excellence Initiative
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation's Neighborhood Excellence Initiative annually recognizes organizations, individuals and students who have shown a commitment to improving their communities. Over six years, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation has committed more than $110 million globally to the NEI program and will invest over $20 million in 2009 alone.
By the end of 2009, more than 800 leaders from the nonprofit awardees will have participated in the Neighborhood Excellence Leadership Program®, which builds a network of community leaders across the country to share learning and insight in areas including strategic communications, financial management, succession planning, and long-term development. Through NEI, Bank of America has also encouraged community leadership at the grassroots level by recognizing more than 1,200 high school students and 1,200 community leaders over the last six years.
Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy
Building on a long-standing tradition of investing in the communities it serves, Bank of America this year embarked on a new, ten-year goal to donate $2 billion to nonprofit organizations engaged in improving the health and vitality of their neighborhoods. Funded by Bank of America, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation gave more than $200 million in 2008, making the bank the most generous financial institution in the world and the second largest donor of all U.S. corporations in cash contributions. Bank of America approaches investing through a national strategy called "neighborhood excellence" under which it works with local leaders to identify and meet the most pressing needs of individual communities. Bank associate volunteers contributed more than 900,000 hours in 2008 to enhance the quality of life in their communities nationwide. For more information about Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy, please visit www.bankofamerica.com/foundation.