Portland, OR. Financial Beginnings Oregon and Portland Parks Foundation have been named the Bank of America 2019 Neighborhood Builders winners. The nonprofits are being recognized for providing essential services that benefit the Portland-area community and promote economic and social progress. Financial Beginnings will use the resources to reach an additional 5,000 Oregonians with free financial education. Portland Parks Foundation, a fundraising partner for Portland Parks & Recreation, plans to expand its Summer Free For All Lunch + Play program that brings free, healthy meals to parks with their funds.

Through the Neighborhood Builders program, each nonprofit receives $200,000 in flexible funding, a year of leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader at the organization, a network of peer organizations across the country and volunteering support from BofA.

“We recognize the critical role that local nonprofits play to build pathways to economic progress in the Portland community. Through Neighborhood Builders, we connect nonprofits like Financial Beginnings Oregon and the Portland Parks Foundation to the funding and leadership development resources they need to further scale their impact,” said Roger Hinshaw, Bank of America’s Market President in Oregon and Southwest Washington. “Both of these nonprofits do extraordinary work, so I am pleased we are able to bring forward this additional support at a particularly strategic time for them.”

Financial Beginnings Oregon will use its award to establish the “Bank of America Financial Empowerment Fellowship.” With Bank of America’s funds, they will recruit and train a cohort of diverse student leaders each year to serve as Fellows. Fellows will receive leadership and skills training, and will then bring financial education programs back into their own communities. Overall, the organization anticipates the Fellows will provide free financial education to an additional 5,000 Oregonians each year.

“The $200,000 investment will help us reach more Oregonians with critical financial literacy training,” said Kate Benedict, Executive Director of Financial Beginnings Oregon. “We know that communities learn best from a member of their own community. The Bank of America Financial Empowerment Fellowship is our chance to make sure Portland-area communities attain valuable financial teachings from their own student leaders. This program will help us reach significantly more Oregonians than ever with life-changing, free financial education programs.”

The Portland Parks Foundation — Portland Parks & Recreation’s (PP&R) nonprofit fundraising partner — will use the funding to significantly expand PP&R’s Summer Free For All Lunch + Play program, which brings free, healthy meals to parks in communities where 50 percent or more of kids under 18 are eligible for free-and-reduced lunches. The program serves as a nutritional bridge during the summer months for kids who rely on school lunches. Additionally, the Neighborhood Builders investment will enable the purchase and design of customized vehicles to deliver needed community services via PP&R’s Mobile Lunch + Play program in neighborhoods without good access to parks.

“Thanks to Bank of America, thousands more Portland children will receive a free, healthy meal,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Nick Fish. “The Neighborhood Builders grant strengthens our long-standing partnership with Bank of America. Thanks to our philanthropic partner the Portland Parks Foundation and to Roger Hinshaw and Monique Barton at Bank of America for their commitment to Portland families.”

Randy Gragg, Portland Parks Foundation’s Executive Director, added: “The Bank of America Neighborhood Builders grant will allow us to bring a lot of the fun of a park directly to kids, right where they live. With our city growing so quickly, Mobile Lunch + Play is a fast, effective and innovative way to better serve more of our city’s children and reach new neighborhoods.”

Monique Barton, senior vice president at Bank of America in Portland, added that both nonprofits have long histories of partnering with Bank of America through traditional foundation grants that span many years. Over that time, both nonprofits consistently demonstrated impact, reach and successful two-way partnership. “We remain impressed by the visions of Financial Beginnings and the Portland Parks Foundation. They are both doing tremendous work to elevate opportunities available to young people in Portland, and we look forward to seeing what more they’re able to achieve with this additional investment,” Barton said. “The programs they are earmarking the funds for, are very worthy causes with the potential to make a real difference in helping local youth and families.”

From Bank of America:

At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News). For more Bank of America news, including dividend announcements and other important information, visit the Bank of America newsroom. Click here to register for news email alerts.

Financial Beginnings:

Founded in 2005, Financial Beginnings Oregon is a nonprofit organization that provides free financial education programs across the state. Our mission is to empower youth and adults to take control of their financial futures. To accomplish this, we partner with schools and community-based organizations across the state to provide free financial education to the communities they serve, preparing participants of all ages to make important financial decisions wisely and well. Learn more about Financial Beginnings Oregon at www.finbegor.org and connect with us on Twitter at @finbegor.

Portland Parks Foundation:

The Portland Parks Foundation is dedicated to connecting Portlanders to nature and to each other through the city’s parks, public spaces and natural areas. We lead, develop partnerships and raise money to fund new facilities, enhance existing ones, and support programs to put our parks system within reach of all. We are the chief philanthropic partner of Portland Parks & Recreation, which helps Portlanders play by providing the safe places, facilities and programs that promote physical, mental and social activity. Since our founding in 2001, PPF’s impact has stretched across the entire city. For more information on Portland Parks & Recreation’s Mobile Lunch + Play and other Summer Free For All programs, please click here.​