Bank of America today announced a $500,000 grant to YouthBuild USA that will enable the expansion of educational services and career and leadership development to underprivileged youth. The grant will specifically expand YouthBuild's career training programs in the emerging field of green construction.
YouthBuild, a national youth and community development program with 273 locations in 45 states, Washington, D.C., and the Virgin Islands, helps low-income and disadvantaged individuals ages 16-24 obtain their high school diplomas or GEDs while learning job skills building affordable housing and participating in leadership development activities in their communities. Approximately 92,000 YouthBuild students have built 19,000 units of affordable, increasingly green, housing since 1994.
"Bank of America understands that youth and community development are most effective when they are part of a holistic approach to addressing core issues facing low-income communities," said Dorothy Stoneman, president and founder of YouthBuild USA. "There is no greater predictor of future professional and financial success than education and training, and we are proud to partner with Bank of America to equip generations of students with the academic, career and leadership skills they need to succeed in today's green economy."
Support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, which focuses on education and youth development as a key national funding priority, will provide $200,000 in pass-through grants to at least five local YouthBuild programs across the country to assist with their green building activities and to provide access to careers in green industries for YouthBuild graduates. YouthBuild Boston is the first local YouthBuild program selected by Bank of America and YouthBuild USA, and will receive $40,000 in pass-through grants over the next two years to support its green building efforts, which include constructing a green outdoor classroom with raised vegetable beds for a school located in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.
"Education and workforce development are essential components to revitalizing our communities and stimulating and sustaining local economies," said Robert E. Gallery, Massachusetts president for Bank of America. "Through multifaceted partnerships with nonprofits like YouthBuild, we are creating pathways to success for at-risk youth by helping them reach their educational goals and become career-ready with the potential for long-term employment and financial security."
Complementing the bank's charitable investment, Bank of America Community Volunteers, who have set a goal to donate 1 million volunteer hours by the end of 2010 and who are participating in the bank's Global Service Month in April, partnered on April 26 with YouthBuild Boston to participate in an environmental cleanup at a Roxbury apartment.
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has partnered with YouthBuild USA since 2005, previously providing more than $600,000 in grants to benefit the organization's national efforts and six rural affiliates. In 2009, Bank of America sponsored YouthBuild's 30th anniversary event that included the construction of a Green YouthBuild House on Capitol Hill, which was transported to Brownsville, Texas and donated to a single mother whose home was damaged by Hurricane Dolly in 2008. The house is located in a low-income rural neighborhood and serves as a model for 85 other affordable green homes.