Bank of America Names Allies For Community Business and Skills for Chicagoland's Future 2022 Neighborhood Builders®
A multi-year grant from Bank of America will help two local nonprofit organizations expand their workforce and employment services in Chicago's underserved communities. Allies for Community Business and Skills for Chicagoland's Future have been named as the 2022 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® awardees for their work to remove economic barriers and advancing economic opportunity in the Chicago area.
Neighborhood Builders is a highly competitive, invitation-only program, and organizations are selected by a committee comprised of community leaders and past Neighborhood Builders honorees. 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 in nonprofit leadership development.
"Nonprofits are the backbone to our local community as they are on the ground working closely with individuals, families and community members to understand the obstacles many are experiencing and developing programs and services that will help alleviate or eliminate these barriers, helping them chart a path toward economic opportunity," said Rita Cook, President, Bank of America Chicago. "It's important that we direct not only capital, but the necessary resources and training to help position these nonprofits and their leadership team for long-term success as they grow strategically and make a positive impact. "
Allies for Community Business (A4CB) is a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution located on Chicago's West Side that provides the capital, coaching, and connections entrepreneurs need to grow great businesses that create jobs and wealth in their communities. In the three years prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, A4CB served approximately 9,000 entrepreneurs, providing $10 million in loans and $1 million in grants. In the three years since, A4CB has served more than 50,000 entrepreneurs, providing over $52 million in loans and $630 million in grants.
"Community businesses create jobs and wealth that stay in our neighborhoods. They make our streets more vibrant, more secure, and more fun to walk through," said Brad McConnell, CEO of Allies for Community Business. "This Neighborhood Builders award will help A4CB continue to serve tens of thousands of these Chicagoland entrepreneurs as they shift from surviving a health crisis to building sustainable businesses that create wealth for the future."
Skills for Chicagoland's Future employs a jobs-first approach to workforce development and support, working to close the workforce opportunity gap for Black and Brown Chicagoans. By partnering with corporations throughout the Chicago area, Skills for Chicagoland's Future places individuals in good-paying jobs that provide a pathway toward economic security and mobility. In 2022, Skills is set to place over 1,500 people into jobs. The organization plans to leverage the Bank of America grant to support its expansion plans within Chicago's underserved neighborhoods, which enables the nonprofit to meet jobseekers where they are and to place them where they have the greatest opportunity for success.
"Since its inception 10 years ago, Skills has helped more than 10,000 Chicagoans find meaningful work and a pathway to economic security, in large part due to the support from our longtime hiring partners like Bank of America,"shared Marie Trzupek Lynch, President and CEO of Skills for Chicagoland's Future. "To be recognized as a Neighborhood Builder is a tremendous honor, and the resources afforded by this award will be instrumental to expanding our efforts and deepening our impact in the communities we serve."
In Chicago, 38 nonprofits have been selected as Neighborhood Builders since the program's inception, with the bank investing $7.4 million into these local organizations. Through 2021, 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.
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.