Bank of America awards more than $1 million to Salt Lake organizations

Salt Lake City— Neighborhood House and Volunteers of America Utah have been named as the inaugural Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® program awardees in Utah. This is the first time the program has been offered in Utah and coincides with Bank of America’s recent expansion and deepening commitment to serving the needs of its clients and the communities it serves across the beehive state. 

Neighborhood Builders recognizes both nonprofits for their work to address issues fundamental to economic mobility, specifical access to critical wraparound, mental health, housing, and healthcare services, as well as affordable family support, youth programs, pre-school and adult care. Neighborhood Builders is Bank of America’s signature philanthropic program that advances economic mobility and nonprofit leadership. It creates more sustainable communities by providing nonprofits with flexible funding, tools to develop stronger strategic plans and chart a succession plan. As part of the program, each organization receives a $200,000 grant, a year of leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader, a network of peer organizations across the US, and the opportunity to access capital to expand their impact. 

 “Both Neighborhood House and Volunteers of America have strong legacies of creating positive outcomes for disadvantaged and vulnerable  Utahns through mental health, housing and education programs that help people chart a path toward economic stability,” said Mori Paulsen, Salt Lake president for Bank of America. “As we consider many of the challenges our community faces, the Neighborhood Builders program is a relevant and timely initiative to launch here in Salt Lake City to further support those most at risk. We look forward to seeing how this investment helps each organization strategically plan for growth and long-term sustainability while making even greater impacts in our communities.”

Despite Utah’s strong economy, according to the Division of Workforce Services’ March 2020 report, Utah is experiencing a significant gap between childcare demand and the capacity of its childcare system, including a 65 percent gap between the need for childcare for children six years and younger. To ensure Utahn families have access to affordable childcare options, Neighborhood House has worked to enrich, empower and educate children and adults by providing quality, affordable daycare, and support services to low-income families for more than 125 years. These services help families maintain stable employment and achieve self-sufficiency.

  The organization plans to use the funds from Bank of America to help expand capacity and services to reach more clients and close its funding gap by covering the difference between what families can afford to pay based on the sliding fee scale and the overall cost of program. ”Neighborhood House is so honored to be in the one of the first in Utah to receive the Bank of American Neighborhood Builders grant, along with Volunteers of America,” said Jennifer Nuttall, executive director, Neighborhood House. “Bank of America understands and appreciates the need that nonprofits have for flexible funding, paired with capacity building. We are excited to leverage this award to rise and meet the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our neighborhood and community. This will make an enormous impact in our ability to assist struggling families to restabilize and provide the resources they need for success.”

 The need for mental health support and services has increased as a result of the pandemic. According to a major university study, the number of adults experiencing depression in the U.S. has tripled, and essential and emergency organizations are encountering more vulnerable neighbors experiencing homelessness, addiction, and mental health challenges who are in need of support. Volunteers of America is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting communities experiencing these challenges, building a bridge to help improve their lives and increase self-reliance and stability.

Volunteers of America will use the grant to launch a program specifically geared toward women. According to data gathered by VOA, women are a critical population in Utah where 77 percent of women experiencing homelessness from 2019 to 2020 were identified as having mental health challenges. Through the program, Volunteers of America will connect women in need of support with Medicaid-funded intensive case management services at the Geraldine E. King Women’s Resource Center. “The multi-disciplinary team approach, coupled with permanent supportive housing, allows vulnerable people in our community the safety and stability needed to live a happy and healthy life,” said Jaime Klemz, Division Director of Intensive Behavioral Health Services, Volunteers of America. “Bank of America investment allows us to be able to further research and examine how to design a sustainable model that helps women experiencing homelessness and mental health challenges gain access to critical mental health services like therapy and treatment.”

Including Neighborhood Builders, Bank of America deployed more than $1 million across the Salt Lake region to support COVID-19 emergency relief and critical medical resources, access to basic needs like food and shelter, and arts and culture. To do this, the bank partnered with nonprofit organizations like Intermountain Healthcare, University of Utah Health, Suazo Business Center, United Way of Salt Lake, Utah Food Bank, National History Museum, and more to help Utahns chart a path toward economic opportunity and mobility.  The bank also donated 120,000 PPE masks and 158 gallons of hand sanitizer to local partners and the neighbors they serve.

Since 2004, Bank of America has invested over $265 million in 92 communities through Neighborhood Builders, partnering with more than 1,300 nonprofits and helping more than 2,600 nonprofit leaders strengthen their leadership skills. The Neighborhood Builders program is an opportunity to provide relevant skills development and topics to help nonprofit leaders address current and future community challenges. Each year, Bank of America refines the Neighborhood Builders Leadership Program to include topics ranging from strategic storytelling to human capital management, and highlights themes that are critical to moving the nonprofit sector forward within broader societal and economic context.

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. Examples of the leadership training topics include human capital management, increasing financial sustainability, and storytelling. 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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