Latest News

Bank of America puts up $400,000 to help veterans and child literacy

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has named Charlotte Bridge Home and Freedom School Partners as recipients of grants of $200,000 each as part of the bank’s 2014 Neighborhood Builders program.

Bank of America Charitable Foundation gives out the unrestricted money to nonprofits to address community needs. The grants, to be paid over two years, include leadership training for high-performing nonprofits and their executives.

Charlotte Bridge Home helps new veterans successfully return to civilian life, while Freedom School Partners is a literacy program for low-income children.

Cindi Basenspiler of Charlotte Bridge Home said her agency will designate a large portion of the grant to widening its network of partnerships that help former military personnel get back on their feet. This includes employers willing to hire veterans and agencies that offer healthcare, childcare, educational and housing services to veterans and their families.

Last year, the nonprofit created partnerships with 100 community service agencies that can provide aid to veterans. It also enrolled 54 “veteran- friendly” employers in an alliance of companies that are working to hire and retain veterans.

Charlotte Bridge Home, which has a staff of seven, assisted 446 veterans and their families in 2014, which is twice the number it helped in 2013. The agency, which was conceived of in 2011, has an annual budget of about $600,000.

Charles Bowman, state president for Bank of America, said the leadership training offered by the Neighborhood Builders program helps keep nonprofits competitive at a time when winning grants is getting tougher.

“This investment will empower these organizations to build their leadership capacity as they expand their reach,” Bowman said.

The Neighborhood Builder grant comes at a critical time for Freedom School Partners, which has grown to support more than 1,200 students at 20 Freedom School sites, and is evaluating plans for its strategic growth.

“Only 10 percent of low-income children have access to quality summer programming that could keep them engaged in learning when they are out of school,” said Mary Nell McPherson, executive director for Freedom School Partners.