Bank of America Names Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence and Graduate! Philadelphia 2021 Neighborhood Builders®
Program Provides $200,000 in Flexible Funding to Each Organization and Leadership Development Training to Advance Economic Mobility in Greater Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA – Programs that help address the local/region’s issues around youth mentorship, economic mobility and academic and workforce development for low-income communities will be able to scale, helping even more people through a multi-year grant from Bank of America. Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence and Graduate! Philadelphia have been named as the 2021 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® awardees for their work in the Greater Philadelphia community addressing these issues.
As a Neighborhood Builder, each organization receives a $200,000 grant over two years, comprehensive leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader on topics ranging from increasing financial sustainability, human capital management and strategic storytelling, joins a network of peer organizations across the U.S., and gets the opportunity to access capital to expand their impact. The program continues to be the nation’s largest investment into nonprofit leadership development.
Since 1915, Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence has been matching youth in meaningful, enduring, professionally supported mentoring relationships with compassionate adult volunteers. Through community-based and school-based youth mentoring programs, 2,200 children are served annually in Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties in PA, and Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties in NJ.
Graduate! Philadelphia was born in 2005 to ensure that low-income families did not get left behind by a changing economy. Unlike any other nonprofit organization in the region, Graduate! Philadelphia works at the seams of both academic and workforce credentialing to address both the short- and long-term needs of families. Amidst a poverty rate that hovers just above 24%, Graduate! Philadelphia’s education and workforce services are critical to mitigate the persistent tide of unemployment, underemployment, and income stagnation for Black and Latinx Philadelphians, among other low-wage racial demographics.
“As communities continue to recover and navigate a changing landscape, nonprofits are still experiencing significant demands and are in need of resources to help meet critical local needs like youth mentorship and academic and workforce development,” said Jim Dever, president, Bank of America Greater Philadelphia. “Big Brothers Bigs Sisters Independence and Graduate! Philadelphia are helping bridge important gaps for individuals and families to help them chart a path toward economic opportunity and stability. Programs like Neighborhood Builders helps these organizations grow sustainably and strategically for greater positive impact in the community.”
“Most youth we serve come from low-income, single-parent homes. Eighty-two percent are from ethnic minority backgrounds. Many attend schools that lack resources and have overwhelmed teachers and administrators. We know that mentorship can help fill that void and ignite their full potential,” said Marcus Allen, executive director, Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence. “Decades of research have shown the beneficial impact of having a caring, committed adult mentor to help these youth overcome obstacles and envision a successful future. With this support, we are enabled to reach even more youth in the Greater Philadelphia region and match them with the resources and relationships they need to thrive.”
“At Graduate! Philadelphia, we believe that our vision is only limited by our imagination,” said Malik Brown, president and CEO, Graduate! Philadelphia. “Being a Neighborhood Builder recipient allows us to bolster our work to promote educational attainment and workforce preparation as well as build deep community relationships that will have a lasting impact.”
Since 2004, Bank of America has invested over $280 million in 50 communities through Neighborhood Builders, partnering with more than 1,400 nonprofits and helping more than 2,800 nonprofit leaders strengthen their leadership skills. Here in Greater Philadelphia, 29 nonprofits have been selected as a Neighborhood Builder, with the bank investing more than $5 million into these local organizations through the program.
The invitation-only program is highly competitive, and leading members of the community participated in a collaborative selection process to identify this year’s awardees. Neighborhood Builders is just one example of how Bank of America deploys capital in communities, builds cross-sector partnerships, and promotes socioeconomic progress as part of its approach to responsible growth.
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