Bank invests $119,000 in local nonprofits

By: Elaine Ingalls, Santa Cruz Sentinel

This article was originally published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

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Bank of America announced Wednesday that it will give $119,000 in grants to 17 Santa Cruz and Monterey counties nonprofits to advance economic stability for young adults and families. The grants will fund resources for workforce development and education that help people on a path toward better finances and fulfill basic needs, such as hunger relief and shelter.

Santa Cruz County has one of the highest poverty rates in California at 23.8%, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Approximately one-third of Santa Cruz County residents receive some form of public assistance, according to the County of Santa Cruz Human Services Department.

“While the local economy is growing, it’s important to help ensure that everyone can leverage the current prosperity,” said DeeDee Smallwood, Monterey – Santa Cruz market president for Bank of America. “Through strategic philanthropic investments into the region’s tremendous nonprofit network, we can help struggling families meet their basic needs like hunger or shelter while also widening access to workforce development and job skills vital to creating sustainable, lasting careers.”

The Santa Cruz County Office of Education will use the funding to provide paid summer work experience positions for the first time in four years.

“With Bank of America’s help we were able to restart our Summer Youth Employment Program targeted to serve students already involved in other agency programming in the areas of foster care, homelessness, gang prevention and diversion, mental health support and the alternative education schools,” said Dr. Michael Paynter, director of student services with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. “Adding job-readiness training and a paid workplace with mentoring brings tremendous incentives and resources to an overall plan to better the lives of these most vulnerable youth populations.”

Other Santa Cruz and Monterey organizations receiving grants include: Boys and Girls Clubs of Monterey County, California Farmlink, Digital Nest Inc., Franciscan Workers of Junipero Serra, Goodwill Central Coast, Habitat for Humanity International, Hartnell College Foundation, Lyceum of Monterey County, Monterey Peninsula College Foundation, Natividad Medical Foundation, Opportunity Fund Community Development, Panetta Institute for Public Policy, Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County, Food Bank for Monterey County, United Way of Monterey County and United Way of Santa Cruz County.


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