Bank of America has named Lowcountry Local First as its inaugural Neighborhood Champion awardee. Neighborhood Champions supports the role strong nonprofit leaders play in advancing economic mobility, and is an extension of the bank’s signature philanthropic initiative, Neighborhood Builders, the largest corporate philanthropic investment in nonprofit leadership in the country. Alongside Charleston, S.C., the bank has brought the program to 40 communities across the U.S. this fall as part of its commitment to investing in the long-term health of communities.
As part of the program, Lowcountry Local First will receive $50,000 in grant support and an opportunity for engagement in virtual leadership training delivered by experts in the nonprofit sector. After a rigorous review process, Lowcountry Local First was the organization that stood out to the local market selection committee and to the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. Lowcountry Local First was chosen by the committee based on their efforts toward cultivating an economy anchored in local ownership and fostering a better environment for creating and sustaining local businesses.
“We’re thrilled to bring the Neighborhood Champions program to Charleston,” said Mark Munn, Charleston Market President for Bank of America. “Through flexible funding and leadership resources, partners like Lowcountry Local First have the power to plan strategically for growth and long-term sustainability, and we look forward to seeing how this investment helps Lowcountry Local First make even greater strides to support local businesses.”
The Neighborhood Champions program is invitation-only for nonprofits who are poised to take their work to the next level. Leading members of the community participated in a collaborative selection process to identify this year’s awardee. Examples of the topics for the virtual leadership training awarded include human capital management, increasing financial sustainability, and storytelling.
“We are humbled and honored to be the inaugural recipient of Bank of America’s Neighborhood Champions award,” says Jamee Haley, Executive Director of Lowcountry Local First. “The support allows us to fuel economic and social progress by providing aspiring entrepreneurs with business training, mentorship and incubation. This key partnership with Bank of America is critical to helping us transform lives, build legacies and support economic self-sufficiency. The grant will have a significant impact on supporting the growth of the organization as we look to build a more equitable economy where all have opportunities to prosper.”
Over more than fifteen years, Bank of America has invested $240 million in 49 communities through Neighborhood Builders, partnering with more than 1,000 nonprofits and helping more than 2,000 nonprofit leaders strengthen their leadership skills. The Neighborhood Champions program in Charleston will strengthen the bank’s commitment to advancing economic mobility and nonprofit leadership.
Bank of America is very committed to the local Charleston community. In fact, the Bank has invested nearly $650,000 this year alone to support various efforts, including community development, basic human needs and workforce development.
Over the past 5 years, Bank of America has contributed more than $2.5 million to the Charleston market through grants. Bank of America employees gave over $500,000 to local causes – most of which was matched by the Bank of America Foundation. The Bank’s employees also contributed more than 24 thousand volunteer hours over the past five years.