Program Provides $400,000 in Flexible Funding and Leadership Skills Development Training to Advance Economic Mobility in the Inland Empire
Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services (NPHS) and Court Appointed Special Advocates (C.A.S.A.) of San Bernardino County have been named as the 2020 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® awardees in the Inland Empire. The nonprofits were selected for their work to address issues fundamental to economic mobility, specifically providing affordable housing and support services to underserved communities and pathways for foster youth to education.
As an awardee, each organization receives a $200,000 grant, a year of leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader on topics ranging from strategic storytelling to human capital management, as well as a network of peer organizations across the U.S., and the opportunity to access capital to expand their impact.
“As we consider the challenges that Inland Empire communities are facing – from the health crisis brought on by the coronavirus to the need for progress on racial equality and economic opportunity – the Neighborhood Builders program is a relevant and timely initiative to support the communities we serve,” said Al Arguello, market president, Bank of America. “This program enables partners like NPHS and CASA to not only continue to serve our communities, but also to expand their focus during the pandemic, making greater strides in addressing fast evolving issues such as affordable housing and homelessness, wrap around services and support for at-risk youth in underserved communities.”
“Affordable housing and the need to help our neighbors without homes are the key issues of our time,” Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey said. “These challenges are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, so these awards have never been more timely.”
“While we continue on a safe and steady pathway to recovery from the pandemic, there are still vulnerable communities facing exceptional challenges,” said John Valdivia, Mayor of San Bernardino. “Organizations like Court Appointed Special Advocates (C.A.S.A.) helps San Bernardino’s foster youth attain basic resources they need to succeed in life, and the grant from Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builder’s program will help them overcome additional pandemic-related challenges so that these children and young adults can continue on their path.”
In Riverside county alone, one in five who are unsheltered became homeless this year in part due to the pandemic, creating new demand for Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services for permanent supportive housing and resources to help prevent those vulnerable from becoming homeless. The Neighborhood Builders grant will be used to hire two onsite case workers, a food pantry and a computer lab at NPHS’s new 23-unit affordable housing development for chronically homeless, Sunrise at Bogart.
“We are very grateful for Bank of America’s investment,” stated Clemente Mojica, CEO, NPHS. “The funding will support Sunrise at Bogart, a 23-unit permanent supportive housing development in partnership with the City of Riverside. This development will help homeless individuals attain quality, stable housing and critical support services so they can lead more stable lives.”
C.A.S.A. of San Bernardino County trains and supervises local community volunteers to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates for children and youth in foster care, providing one-to-one mentoring, and educational, healthcare, and welfare advocacy. Foster youth who have a C.A.S.A. advocate achieve 90% high school graduation rate, compared to the national average of only 54%. C.A.S.A. also provides services for foster care alumni ages 18-24 for their successful transition into adulthood. The Neighborhood Builders grant will help fund the hiring of additional staff and create a new Development Department and Communications and Marketing Department that will help the organization build its capacity to serve more children and youth and to pivot to a safe virtual service delivery model necessary during the pandemic.
“We are excited and proud to be recognized by Bank of America as a Neighborhood Builder,” said Cesar Navarrete, CEO, C.A.S.A. “This is a great opportunity for us to scale our program impact so that every child and youth in San Bernardino County’s foster care system has a CHAMPION on their side fighting for them every step of the way.”
Since 2004, Bank of America has invested over $260 million in 50 communities through Neighborhood Builders, partnering with more than 1,300 nonprofits and helping more than 2,600 nonprofit leaders strengthen their leadership skills. In the Inland Empire specifically, Bank of America has partnered with 25 nonprofits since 2004, investing $5 million to provide economic mobility, affordable housing, workforce development, basic needs and wraparound services. The invitation-only program is highly competitive, and leading members of the community participated in a collaborative selection process to identify this year’s awardees.