Bank of America provides financial boost for nonprofits assisting young people

Junior Achievement of Arizona was one of two organizations to receive a $200,000 award from Bank of America. (Submitted photo)

Bank of America has awarded Junior Achievement of Arizona and Year Up Arizona $200,000 each to continue their efforts of providing financial education and early job readiness for under-served children and young adults.

“Both organizations empower youth towards upward mobility through programs that help develop the attitudes, behaviors and skills needed to pursue long-term, sustainable jobs and a stronger financial future,” according to a release.

The Neighborhood Builders program is the nation’s largest philanthropic investment into nonprofit leadership, the release stated, adding it awards each nonprofit $200,000 in unrestricted grant funding “to expand their high-impact programs.”

While Arizona has experienced job growth that is predicted to continue, it also has one of the nation’s highest rates of disconnected youth – young people who are homeless, in foster care, involved in the justice system or unemployed, according to the release.

“Junior Achievement of Arizona and Year Up Arizona are empowering students and young adults to be contributing members of our economy and community by giving them tools to help them see and begin to reach their full potential,” Benito Almanza, Bank of America market president for Arizona, stated.

“We share the mission of these two nonprofits to make lives better, and the Neighborhood Builder program provides critical capital and leadership development resources so that they can succeed while helping even more of their participants succeed.”

For Junior Achievement of Arizona, the grant funds will support the development of its first digital curriculum for 12- to 18-year-old students with relevant and accessible learning tools to help them build a solid financial foundation.

“This digital curriculum will not only allow us to provide interactive learning tools to under-served students but will also allow us to reach populations that do not currently have access to Junior Achievement of Arizona curriculum,” stated Katherine Cecala, president of Junior Achievement of Arizona.

(Submitted photo)

Year Up Arizona will use the grant funds for its young adult job training programs.

“The Neighborhood Builders Award will allow us to increase awareness of Year Up Arizona’s proven approach to job training throughout the community and will help us grow to connect even more young adults in need of an opportunity with companies in need of their talent,” stated Kim Owens, executive director.

As Neighborhood Builder awardees, Junior Achievement Arizona and Year Up Arizona also will receive a year of leadership training for their executive director and an emerging leader at the organization, access to a network of peer organizations across the United States, and the opportunity to access additional capital to expand their impact, according to the release.

Over the course of Neighborhood Builders’ 15 years, Bank of America has partnered with 30 nonprofits in Phoenix, investing $6 million “to help address issues fundamental to improving economic mobility for individuals and families, such as workforce development, community development and basic needs,” the release stated.

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