Bank of America and New Avenues for Youth help youth experiencing homelessness in Portland

In the Portland area, over one-fifth of people affected by homelessness are children under 18. In fact, Oregon has the highest percentage of unsheltered families with children out of all 50 states. Within Multnomah County alone, there are thousands of people living in emergency shelters, or in transitional housing.

For 20 years, local nonprofit New Avenues for Youth has served youth at risk of or experiencing homelessness in Portland, and Bank of America has been a strong supporter of its critical work. In fact, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch & U.S. Trust employees have donated hundreds of volunteer hours helping New Avenues carry out its important mission — and also provided support to the organization’s annual Scoop-A-Thon event, benefiting New Avenues workforce development programs.

Building on that history, in 2017 Bank of America named New Avenues as its latest Neighborhood Builder, combining a $200,000 grant with leadership training.

“The Neighborhood Builder award comes at an exciting time of organizational growth for us. It’s an opportunity for New Avenues for Youth to have even greater impact in our community,” said Sean Suib, executive director of New Avenues for Youth. “With Bank of America’s help, we have the ability to reach more marginalized younger youth who need a safe and stable place to call home and the care they need to thrive.”

New Avenues has been around for over 20 years. That’s significant, since they have a proven and time-tested model of successfully supporting youth in need.

Roger Hinshaw
Bank of America’s Oregon and Southwest Washington market president

This expanded partnership and investment from the bank was a crucial part of building the new East County campus and the Youth Opportunity Center. Since its opening in January, the new center is actively helping young people get the life skills and job training assistance they need to thrive.

Co-located on the campus of the Rockwood Boys & Girls Club, the center provides outreach to and wraparound support for youth experiencing housing instability and homelessness, along with programming for LGBTQ youth, youth in foster care and victims of sex trafficking. The center also houses the Bank of America Youth Learning & Opportunity Lab, designed to help young people gain the skills and job training assistance they need for successful employment.

“We recognize the critical role that nonprofits and their leaders play to build pathways to economic progress in the Portland community,” said Roger Hinshaw, Bank of America’s market president in Oregon and Southwest Washington. “Through our Neighborhood Builders program, we connect outstanding nonprofits, like New Avenues for Youth to the funding and leadership resources they need to scale their impact and help our community flourish.”

New Avenues for Youth takes a complete approach to addressing youth homelessness and its root causes, providing services that address basic needs and safety, education and career development, and self-sufficiency. Since it was founded in 1997, New Avenues has served over 20,000 young people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness and continues to work in partnership with the community to prevent youth homelessness.

Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders program helps nonprofits make an impact in their local communities. Since the program began in 2004, the bank has invested more than $180 million in 900 nonprofit organizations across the country, providing leadership resources to nearly 2,000 nonprofit leaders. The program has been recognized as the nation’s largest philanthropic investment in nonprofit leadership development.



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