Two R.I. nonprofits awarded $200K through Bank of America program

PROVIDENCE – Bank of America Corp. has named the Providence After School Alliance and Junior Achievement of Rhode Island as the 2023 Neighborhood Builders awardees for their work advancing economic mobility and building up underserved neighborhoods in Rhode Island.

The multiyear grant funding and extensive leadership training for the two nonprofits will strengthen programs and services that help enrich the education of young people.

Bank of America says the Neighborhood Builders program is one of the largest philanthropic investments in nonprofit leadership development in the nation, providing comprehensive leadership training for an executive director and an emerging leader on topics ranging from increasing financial sustainability, human capital management and strategic storytelling, and the opportunity to join a national network of peer organizations.

Each organization is also awarded a $200,000 grant over two years.

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“Nonprofits like the Providence After School Alliance and Junior Achievement of Rhode Island are vital to solving social challenges, improving communities and promoting economic advancement,” said Kevin Tracy, Bank of America Rhode Island president. “Providing these nonprofits with flexible funding and leadership training not only positions them for sustainable, long-term success but demonstrates our commitment to creating real change in the places where we live and work.”

The Providence After School Alliance works to expand high-quality after-school and summer learning opportunities for Providence youths. Partnering with local nonprofits and educators, PASA provides free programs in science, technology, engineering and math, as well as the arts, athletics and wellness, career exploration and leadership.

The new grant funding will be used to develop a youth-led philanthropy initiative, giving young people the power to determine how to allocate funds to best meet the needs of their community, the nonprofit said.

“We are profoundly grateful to be selected as a 2023 Neighborhood Builders awardee by Bank of America,” said Ann Durham, Providence After School Alliance executive director. “As we stand on the cusp of PASA’s third decade, this honor not only acknowledges our shared history—with BofA being pivotal in our founding—but also propels us into the future, poised to further invest in the bright young leaders of Providence. It is a generous affirmation of our commitment, and we look forward to the enhanced opportunities for the community that these funds will provide.”

Junior Achievement of Rhode Island is a nonprofit education organization offering financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship programs to K-12 students. The group says it plans to use Neighborhood Builder funding to expand career-readiness programs as well as its successful school-to-career pipeline that is helping students become certified emergency medical technicians and preparing them to enter the Providence Fire Academy when they graduate high school.

“Junior Achievement is honored to receive the 2023 Neighborhood Builders grant from Bank of America. This is truly a transformative gift that will take our mission of inspiring and preparing young people to be successful in a global economy to the next level,” said Lee Lewis, Junior Achievement of Rhode Island president. “This support will allow JA to expand our work helping young people connect what they are learning in school to life outside the classroom, giving them the skillset and mindset to build thriving communities.”

The invitation-only program is highly competitive, Bank of America said. Nonprofits are selected by a committee comprised of community leaders and past awardees. Twenty-seven nonprofits have been selected as Neighborhood Builders in Rhode Island since 2007, with the bank investing $5.4 million into these local nonprofits.