Bank of America Community Volunteer events help develop our employees' leadership, management and communication skills, in addition to delivering immediate community benefits. Going above and beyond their professional responsibilities, our employees drive our volunteer programs at the local level. They recruit, organize and help execute volunteer events, working in partnership with local nonprofits. We’re proud of their commitment and initiative in striving each day to make a difference in our communities.
Supporting Military Veterans Through Service
In November 2011, we partnered with ServiceNation’s Mission Serve to hold volunteer projects in New York City, Tampa, Washington, D.C., San Diego, and Honolulu in honor of the military. Working alongside military and other community members, more than 300 Bank of America volunteers, including members of the company’s Military Support Employee Network, prepared more than 5,000 care packages for active service members in Afghanistan, refurbished an equine therapy facility for injured service members, built affordable housing with Habitat for Humanity, and assembled care packages for the homeless.
In conjunction with this effort, Bank of America extended the theme of service on behalf of the military to its customers through “Operation Honor Card” a program through which individuals could complete pledges of service in honor of the military in banking centers across the country. More than 60,000 hours of service were pledged by customers, with cards displayed in centers.
Responding to the needs of military service members for financial education, employees like Karen Mortimer, a Financial Advisor in La Jolla, California, have answered the call. Karen and her teammates saw the need for financial education as returning military transitioned into civilian life and they stepped up to partner with REBOOT, a nonprofit that focuses on veteran reintegration, to create financial education materials and offer training. Financial education remains a key area through which employees share their expertise and talent with individuals from many diverse backgrounds, and a new financial education toolkit makes it easy for Bank of America employees to connect with volunteer opportunities or develop their own activities.
Finally, as part of the company’s broader support of veteran reintegration, Bank of America is partnering with Wounded Warriors Project, a national nonprofit, to help integrate personal financial management coaching tied to veterans employment. This support builds on the company’s previously announced support of ServiceNation for veterans jobs fairs and workforce development.
Events and Education
Our employees participate in many nationwide events that help make a real, tangible difference in people’s lives. One example is the United Way Day of Caring. Once a year, our volunteers roll up their sleeves to help refurbish local nonprofit facilities like domestic violence centers, youth group homes and senior citizen centers.
We also support many vital educational and assistance programs like the CHOICES education group, which helps educate students about the importance of making the right decisions for a successful future. Our employees participate in the CHOICES program in more than 450 communities across the United States. We also support programs like Junior Achievement and Banking on the Future.
Getting Valuable Tax Refunds and Credits
Bank of America employees contribute their time, working nights and weekends at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites across the country, to help low-income tax filers obtain tax refunds. More than 40 employees lent a hand in 2011. Their efforts are part of Bank of America's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites across the country, to help low-income individuals. Through volunteers and philanthropic support, our investment has helped benefit 65 communities and resulted in more than $500MM in Earned Income Tax Credit refunds (a federal government refund for low-income individuals) and more than $1.5 billion in total tax refunds to more than 1 million tax filers. Our efforts help people save hundreds of dollars on tax preparation fees. That puts money back in people’s pockets, helps families and puts valuable funds back into local communities.
Bank of America has supported Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) since 2002. Held each September, hundreds of thousands of volunteers from countries all over the world spend a day picking up everything from cigarette butts and food wrappers to lost fishing nets and major appliances. Because trash travels to the ocean by way of storm drains and waterways, they don’t just work along ocean beaches; participants slog through mud and sand along lakes, streams, and rivers, too, often working far inland.
In 2011 we were proud to achieve true global participation in ICC with volunteers across the United States being joined by volunteers in Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, London, Madrid, Chennai, Mumbai and San Jose, Costa Rica. In all, 3,079 volunteer hours were dedicated to the International Coastal Cleanup in 2011, a 46% increase over 2010.