Driving Economic and Social Progress across EMEA

We recognize that while conditions have improved over the past several years, many disadvantaged young people still face barriers to economic success. Too many are living on the margins without meaningful and secure employment, unable to create a better life for themselves or contribute to their communities and the wider economy. That is why our company is focused on building pathways to economic mobility by supporting initiatives that help young people transition from education into employment. Combining our financial and human capital, we are helping provide the skills, knowledge and tools to assist in their success.

1. UK, Chester women help local girls realize their career potential

In March 2017, leading education charity Education and Employers invited women in Chester to give an hour of their time to offer career insights and advice to young girls at state schools as part of its Inspiring Women campaign.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is lead corporate supporter of Inspiring the Future and founding corporate partner of Inspiring Women, the charity’s two major campaigns. Hundreds of our employees have participated in events at our UK offices and in schools, reaching more than 30,000 young people across the country.

As part of this most recent challenge, the charity has set a goal to get 250 women to give an hour of their day in the local Chester community to provide career guidance. This aligns with a wider push to encourage 2,250 more women across the UK to each give one hour a year to a school near them.

Nick Chambers, Chief Executive of charity Education and Employers, said: “We have been very successful in getting almost 25,000 women to volunteer an hour a year to go into schools near where they live and talk to girls about their job and career route. However, the majority are based in London and the South East. We want to level the playing field and ensure that girls in other parts of the country have access to fantastic female role models. We are very grateful to the hundreds of employees from Chester who have already signed up and we are now calling on other women in the area to join them.”

Andrea Sullivan, International Environment, Social and Governance executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said: “We are proud to help extend the reach of Inspiring Women across the UK. We cannot overestimate the value of planting a seed in a young girl’s mind and opening her eyes to the wide range of careers that are available to her… It can be life-changing.”

2. Partnering with Magic Breakfast to help fund healthy breakfasts at schools

Magic Breakfast is our 2017/18 UK charity partner. During the two-year partnership with the charity, Bank of America Merrill Lynch employees are raising funds to:

  • Provide 1 million healthy breakfasts and expert support, unlocking up to four million hours of learning
  • Support 38 Magic Breakfast partner schools
  • Ensure 2,546 children are fed and ready to learn each school day

More than half a million children in the UK arrive at school each day too hungry or malnourished to learn.* The most important lessons are taught in the morning, so one nutritious Magic Breakfast can unlock up to four hours of crucial learning for a child who would otherwise be ‘running-on-empty’ and unable to concentrate.

Carmel McConnell MBE, Founder and Chief Executive of Magic Breakfast, said, “I want to thank Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s UK workforce for choosing to support the work of Magic Breakfast at a level which is truly transformative. This ambitious charity partnership will fund over one million healthy breakfasts to UK school children who right now risk missing their classroom learning through hunger or malnourishment. We are passionate about every child having the chance to succeed, and to have the bank alongside, with such strong and sincere commitment, gives Magic Breakfast a massive boost towards ending child classroom hunger in this country forever.”

Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, president, EMEA at Bank of America Merrill Lynch added, “I am delighted that our UK employees are supporting Magic Breakfast. From past experience, I know that we will pull out all the stops to raise vital funds to help children access breakfast clubs and nutrition advice. One cannot overestimate the importance of a healthy meal to start the day, and the long-term benefits this can bring.”

*"Breakfast consumption in UK schoolchildren and provision of school breakfast clubs". A Hoyland, KA McWilliams, RJ Duff & JL Walton: Nutrition Bulletin (2012), 37: 232-240

3. Our partnership with upReach is supporting aspiring undergraduates from low-income backgrounds

In 2016, we announced a new partnership with upReach to advance economic and social mobility within the financial services industry for individuals from less-advantaged backgrounds. Through our partnership, we aim to provide opportunities and help the progression for undergraduates enrolled in the upReach program.

upReach works closely with high-potential undergraduates who have typically lacked access to such opportunities. Working on a unique one-to-one basis with these undergraduates, upReach provides a personalized program of support to help them develop their employability skills and build their network through skills workshops, work experience events, mentoring programmes and Insight Events with its partner employers.

John Craven, CEO of upReach, said, “Bank of America Merrill Lynch, highly values diversity and equal access. I’m delighted they’ve become upReach’s latest corporate partner, helping us to provide opportunities to hundreds of students from less-advantaged backgrounds.”

Neeha Khurana, International Talent executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said, “Our partnership with UpReach is very exciting as it allows us to engage with some of the brightest young people who might not necessarily find their way to us. Specifically, through one-on-one mentoring and Insight workshops, we look forward to helping to build students’ knowledge, soft skills and networks, and encourage them to apply for internships and full-time positions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Together, we hope to extend great opportunities to some of the best young talent in the country, and in doing so, advance a shared commitment to economic mobility.”

4. Helping refugees through financial and volunteer support

Millions of people around the world have been forced to seek refuge in other countries because of war, persecution or natural disasters. Through our work with Breaking Barriers we provide financial and volunteer support including employment skills workshops and mentoring for a pilot employment program for vulnerable 18- to 24-year-old refugees in the UK.

In Germany, our continued support of Verein zur beruflichen Förderung von Frauen has helped to deliver vocational training courses to more than 200 migrant women and refugees in Frankfurt.

And in Italy, our funding of the True Rights program, set up by Associazione Comunità Nuova Onlus, has helped migrant children with social and cultural integration. Our volunteers have supported the charity through quarterly events that have helped children and families to develop their personal and employability skills.


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