Portland, March 7, 2014. The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has selected the Urban League of Portland as its latest Neighborhood Builder® winner. The Builder award entails a $200,000 unrestricted grant as well as advanced leadership training, all of which is awarded to one Portland-area nonprofit each year in a competitive selection process. The Builder program is specifically in support of high-performing nonprofits that have made a significant impact addressing needs related to community development, critical needs or workforce development and education. This is the tenth year of the Builder program in Portland.
“We have a long history of supporting the Urban League of Portland’s mission over the past decade, but it was really last year that our partnership ramped up. Bank of America provided a $25,000 grant to help revive their workforce program and after seeing the results of that investment, combined with the leadership Michael Alexander has brought to the League, we were really inspired to consider other ways we could help this valuable organization,” said Monique Barton, senior vice president of corporate social responsibility at Bank of America in Oregon and southwest Washington. “It’s our hope that this latest $200,000 investment will not only deepen the Urban League’s impact today, but sustain their mission and services well into the future.”
Barton noted that last year’s grant from Bank of America helped the Urban League of Portland serve 129 new clients with job coaching, employment preparation training, job search and placement services and resume preparation for both youth and adults. “We’re excited at what the future holds in terms of the Urban League’s important efforts at breaking down barriers for achieving employment and financial independence,” Barton said.
The Urban League of Portland is one of Oregon’s oldest civil rights organizations. Its mission is to help empower African Americans and other Oregonians to achieve equality in education, employment and economic security.
With this new funding from Bank of America, the Urban League of Portland aims to partner with new corporations and organizations to develop additional employment opportunities for clients seeking jobs. This grant will enable the Urban League of Portland to research and connect with corporations, small businesses, local skilled trade unions and other organizations to forge partnerships that will benefit the community by linking companies with eligible and diverse job candidates.
“We are honored to have been selected on this tenth anniversary of the Neighborhood Builders program. Bank of America’s investment in our community will enable our workforce programs to offer comprehensive employment services to African Americans and others in the region who are seeking sustainable, family-wage employment,” said Michael Alexander, president & CEO of the Urban League of Portland. “This contribution will allow us to create straightforward pathways to employment for all levels of job seekers — from working with clients to build fundamental employment skills to specialized trainings for emerging technologies. This Builder award will allow us to address the critically high level of unemployment in our community, to build strong partnerships with the business sector, and to improve the quality of life in our community by working to build a skilled, qualified and diverse workforce.”
According to findings released by the Bridgespan Group, the Neighborhood Builders program is the largest investment in nonprofit leadership development that exists today, as well as one of the largest philanthropic programs in its spending, and it’s the third largest in number of leaders served. Through the program — now in its 10th year — Bank of America has invested more than $160 million in 800 nonprofit organizations and provided training to 1,600 nonprofit leaders. Neighborhood Builders furthers Bank of America’s broader philanthropic commitment to addressing core issues that are critical to the economic vitality of local economies, with a particular focus on low-income communities.
“The Urban League of Portland makes critical contributions to our local community and this latest partnership with them will help break down employment barriers, which is really about building a stronger, more skilled workforce,” said Roger Hinshaw, Bank of America’s President in Oregon and Southwest Washington. “Bank of America is pleased to provide this latest funding since it will help fuel local economic vitality by putting people back to work. That’s something our local employees are proud to be a part of.”
About Urban League of Portland
Established in 1945, the Urban League of Portland is one of the oldest African American service, civil rights and advocacy organizations in the area. The Urban League of Portland is a part of a network of over 90 National Urban League Affiliates across the country and is recognized as one of the leading voices for African Americans and other people of color in the region. We are a key coalition-builder amongst other African American organizations, and work extensively with both traditional and emerging African American groups, the faith-based community, minority businesses, and other organizations of color, including immigrants and refugees. The Urban League of Portland helps empower African Americans and others to achieve equality in education, employment, health, economic security and quality of life. The Urban League movement carries out its mission at the local, state and national levels through direct services, advocacy, research, policy analysis, community education and mobilization, coalitions and collaborations, and communications. Learn more about our work or sign up for our newsletter at ulpdx.org
About Bank of America Corporate Social Responsibility
Bank of America’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a strategic part of doing business globally. Our CSR efforts guide how we operate in a socially, economically, financially and environmentally responsible way around the world, to deliver for shareholders, customers, clients and employees. Our goal is to help create economically vibrant regions and communities through lending, investing and giving. By partnering with our stakeholders, we create value that empowers individuals and communities to thrive and contributes to the long-term success of our business. We have several core areas of focus for our CSR, including responsible business practices; environmental sustainability; strengthening local communities with a focus on housing, hunger and jobs; investing in global leadership development; and engaging through arts and culture. As part of these efforts, employee volunteers across the company contribute their time, passion and expertise to address issues in communities where they live and work. Learn more at www.bankofamerica.com/about and follow us on Twitter at @BofA_Community.