Bank of America Invests Over Half Million Dollars into Central Coast Nonprofits


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Ventura/Santa Barbara, Calif. – Bank of America today announced $565,500 in grants to 25 Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo County nonprofits to help drive economic opportunity for individuals and families. This first round of grants from the bank focus on workforce development and education to help individuals chart a path to employment and better economic futures, as well as basic needs fundamental to building life-long stability.

Low-wage agricultural worker communities across the tri-counties have been struggling as the rising cost of living and rent, going up as much as thirty percent in some neighborhoods. The soaring cost of living is also pushing more people into homelessness on the Central Coast, with San Luis Obispo County’s homeless population growing by a least 200 people a year since 2019. As the cost of living continues to rise, Bank of America is focused on building pathways to careers by supporting a range of workforce development and educational opportunities in addition to hunger relief, emergency shelter and health access to help vulnerable people stabilize and advance economically.

One of the grant recipients, local nonprofit California Police Activities League (California PAL) serves underserved youth in communities that have experienced a history of neglect and lack of resources and will use the funds to offer paid job skills training with its Youth Apprenticeship Readiness Accelerator for Oxnard teens. 

“Never has it been more imperative for local law enforcement to foster healthy partnerships in the communities they serve,” said Jennifer Lopez, Executive Director, California PAL. “Our mentoring, leadership and college and career preparedness programs for youth and young adults serve as a great example of how these two groups can come together and positively impact our communities by providing essential upskilling for our future workforce.”

Another local beneficiary, Cottage Children’s Medical Center at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, is the only safety-net provider of specialized pediatric care in the region. The bank’s funding will help to establish a new Family Assistance Fund at the Grotenhuis Pediatric Clinics. The fund will assist low-income families whose children are receiving outpatient care at one of Grotenhuis’ 13 specialty clinics. It will help provide families with gas cards and groceries to offset living costs so that parents can use their limited financial resources to pay for rent, utilities, and other basic needs.

“Last year Grotenhuis’ pediatric specialists treated over 5,000 children and youth, and over half of these families have very limited incomes. Many of these children are experiencing post-acute, chronic, and/or life-threatening conditions requiring ongoing specialized treatment” said David Dietrich, Vice President for Advancement at the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Foundation.

Another grant recipient, El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO,) is the primary organization serving the homeless in San Luis Obispo county ,which will use the grant to expand its En Camino a Mi Casa program offering in-language and culturally appropriate materials to support clients throughout the residency program and conduct outreach to those who have not yet accessed the shelter.

“The pandemic created a significant economic impact on our region, and we have seen a substantial increase in homelessness, especially for those in the service industries and agriculture,” said Wendy Lewis, President and CEO, ECHO. “Bank America’s support over the past several years has enabled us to continue to place an emphasis on housing and employment, and helped us double our staff and housing capabilities by expanding into Paso Robles.”

Other organizations acrossthe region receiving grants include: 

  • Ventura: California Lutheran University, Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families,Concerned Resource and Environmental Workers (C.R.E.W.), Foodshare Inc., United Way of Ventura County, Ventura College Foundation
  • Santa Barbara: Marian Regional Medical Center FoundationThe Foundation for Santa Barbara City College,United Way of Santa Barbara County, Unity Shoppe, University of California Santa Barbara, Womens Economic Ventures
  • San Luis Obispo: Affordable Housing Paso Robles (Summer Youth Employment), Atascadero Loaves and Fishes, Arroyo Grande Community Hospital Foundation, CAPSLO, Food Bank Coalition of SLO County, French Hospital Medical Center Foundation, Lumina Alliance, People’s Self-help Housing, SLO County Office of Education (SLO Partners), 5 Cities Homeless Organization

“Investing in nonprofits addressing issues like job reskilling, food insecurity, affordable housing/shelter, youth employment and family services is part of our approach to driving economic opportunity and social progress in the Central Coast,” said Midge Campbell-Thomas, President, Bank of America Ventura and Santa Barbara. “This recent philanthropic investment in Central Coast nonprofits is just one way Bank of America deploys capital locally to help remove barriers to economic success and build a more sustainable community.” 

These grants are the initial round of philanthropic dollars directed to local nonprofits this year, with more to come throughout the year. Last year alone, Bank of America awarded more than $1 million in grants in the region, and employees volunteered approximately 33,000 hours to local causes. 

Additional background about Bank of America’s Charitable Foundation giving can be found here

Bank of America
At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News). 

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