Driving economic & social progress

Economic mobility

We recognize that many individuals—including youth, working families, military and the formerly incarcerated—are facing barriers to economic success. That’s why we’re focused on building pathways to economic mobility by addressing issues of workforce development and education, basic needs and community development. We’re committed to advancing a more diverse and inclusive society by expanding opportunities and supporting equitable solutions that will enable low-income communities to grow and prosper. Through our philanthropic efforts and the power of our employee volunteers, we’re working to create thriving economies and a better future for us all.

Learn more about the Bank of America Charitable Foundation strategy and funding opportunities.

Learn more about volunteerism.

Neighborhood Builders®

As part of our approach to advancing economic mobility, we invest in leadership in the communities we serve in order to give nonprofit leaders the tools and resources to do more. Through our Neighborhood Builders® (U.S.) program, we’re developing a pipeline of talented community leaders and equipping them to take on tough issues of poverty and inclusion while advancing cross-sector leadership. In 45 communities across the U.S., through our Neighborhood Builders® program, we advance economic mobility and nonprofit leadership in order to build more sustainable communities. Through this initiative, we empower nonprofit leaders to address pressing needs in their communities as well as changes in the nonprofit sector by providing them with a unique combination of leadership development, $200,000 in flexible funding, a network of peer organizations across the U.S. and the opportunity to access capital. Since 2004, we’ve invested $220 million, recognizing 1,000 nonprofits and provided 2,000 nonprofit executives with strategic resources to advance their organizations and communities.

Learn more about Neighborhood Builders

Workforce development

Youth employment
Technology and innovation are accelerating rapid growth and shifting job opportunities and the skills that are needed to support them. We recognize the need to support individuals that are being left behind due to a lack of proper education, workforce training, and opportunities to succeed as well as the need to invest in our future workforce.

In 2016, we announced a $40 million, three-year, commitment to connect 100,000 young people to the skills and employment experiences they need to achieve long-term success. Through our Student Leaders® program, partnerships with mayors around the U.S. and other partners around the world, we are supporting internships, education and workforce training and making investments to advance diverse talent. Examples include:

  • Our Student Leaders® program (U.S.) is building youth pathways to success and giving voice to the next generation, who will help develop a more just and inclusive society. We provide community-minded students from 48 communities across the U.S. with a paid summer nonprofit internship and the opportunity to participate in a leadership summit in Washington, D.C. Since 2004, we’ve connected nearly 3,000 students to employment and service opportunities.
  • By partnering with nonprofit Year Up®—a national organization focused on providing urban young adults the skills, experience, and support they need to reach their full potential through professional careers and higher education—we have been able to welcome hundreds of Year Up interns to six-month, full-time internships and have hired more than 150 to full-time positions. Through this partnership, we are able to create a pipeline of motivated, hard-working young adults who are able to build their professional and business skills, while also delivering value to their teams and our customers.
  • In the UK, we are a founding industry partner to Ada, The National College for Digital Skills. Working closely with staff and students, our employees share their knowledge, skills and advice to help with the critical transition from education into sustained employment.
  • We support STEMettes, an award-winning social enterprise, in its efforts to educate, inspire and motivate young women in the UK to consider a career in technology. We also partner with ‘Code First: Girls’ in the UK and Ireland to encourage young women to consider a career in technology.
  • In 2017, we supported 201,155 young people across the EMEA region; 24,733 young people developed their STEM skills and 1,654 disadvantaged young people moved into employment across 46 partnerships.
  • We support of The Young Foundation, a social business incubator which prepares social ventures to scale. Ventures' products and services are enabling disadvantaged young people across the UK, to raise their educational attainment.
  • As founding corporate partner of Sutton Trust's US program, we provide talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds across the UK with the opportunity to study at leading US universities. Through our partnership with Sutton Trust, in 2017, 42 British state school students won places at top U.S. universities. Of these, 62 percent were from families in the lowest income band and 76 percent of the program beneficiaries were the first in their family to go to university. Last year, 30 of our employees volunteered with Sutton Trust, contributing almost 700 hours to the cause to-date.

Helping connect individuals to meaningful employment, including supporting second chances
We partner with organizations preparing individuals for meaningful employment through access to skills training, credentialing and education—regardless of gender, race, criminal record or disability. We believe in offering people the chance to rebuild their careers and their lives and support social enterprises, other transitional employment and workforce re-entry programs tied to job training and placement for the unemployed, under-employed, formerly incarcerated, and homeless.

  • We partner with REDF to advance employment opportunities for individuals with barriers to employment, including the formerly incarcerated, with funding support of numerous reintegration programs across the U.S., including ROCA, the CARA Program and FareStart.
  • We partner with nonprofits across the U.S. including Homeboy Industries, DC Central Kitchen and Chrysalis that provide education and job training to men, women, and young people who are unemployed, homeless or formerly in gangs. This work helps reduce prisoner recidivism and contributes to the well-being of local communities.

Basic needs

Today, hunger remains a pressing issue facing many individuals and families around the world, with approximately 800 million people struggling to find their next meal. For many, hunger is a symptom of poverty and broader issues that have affected their ability to access and pay for this most basic necessity. We recognize that when needs such as hunger are not met, individuals and families can’t move forward toward longer-term economic success through education, jobs and better money habits. That’s why we’ve formed partnerships with nonprofits around the world leading the fight against hunger, engaged our customers and clients to raise awareness and funds, and connected employee volunteers to meaningful hunger relief opportunities. Examples include:

  • Since 2010, we’ve partnered with World Food Program USA which supports World Food Programme’s humanitarian work around the world. In 2017, we worked with local nonprofit partners in India to install solar power grids in 12 of India's most remote villages. Providing electricity to 692 households not only provided lighting to homes, but also reduced the amount of time women spent gathering water, increased studying time for students, and increased the income generating opportunities of villagers who live in extreme poverty.
  • In 2017, we wrapped up our sixth year partnering with Feeding America on Give A Meal, through which we matched donations to Feeding America, the largest U.S. hunger relief provider, on a 2:1 basis up to $1.5 million. It was our most successful program to date – the first year that we raised over $5 million in donations from individuals, which resulted in 55 million meals for families and individuals in need. Give A Meal offered individuals the opportunity to support local food banks according to zip code, with the bulk of donations directed at the local level.
  • In 2017, Asia Pacific employees launched a two-week regional food drive, collecting 117 tons of food for distribution by our partner food banks. The donations collected provided over 275,000 meals to children and families in need in our communities. Our employees also volunteered to sort, pack and deliver the donations to the beneficiaries.
  • In 2017, we supported Magic Breakfast in providing 1 million breakfasts to more than 5,000 children across the UK, meaning we beat our two year target in our first year. Our aim now is to provide a further 1 million breakfasts in 2018 and unlock up to 8 million hours of learning across the partnership.
  • We’ve partnered with the Global Foodbanking Network (GFN) since 2012 to support its work to alleviate hunger in more than 30 locations. Employees in Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Mexico, France, South Africa, and London have donated their time and talent to local food banks to help rescue and redistribute food supplies to individuals and families in need.
    • Asia Pacific: Across Asia Pacific, volunteers have helped distribute food bundles to the community.
    • Latin America: The Bank of America Merrill Lynch Mexico office has played a critical role in the cross-sector collaboration with the local government, Mexican Hotel Association and Mexico Food Bank Association to scale the fight against hunger. By establishing a very effective system that enables the donation of processed food leftovers from hotels and restaurants to institutions, people in social vulnerability are able to be fed.

Community development

We’re focused on economic mobility by addressing community development needs through investments such as affordable housing, community revitalization, arts, and the environment. An individual’s zip code should not define their economic well-being, educational attainment and overall health. However, for many individuals, this factor remains a significant challenge as they pursue their financial, educational and employment goals. Economic opportunity begins with the ability to live and work in vibrant communities, with access to safe, decent housing, strong business corridors, and to arts and culture. So, our funding efforts focus on the work of local, national and global nonprofit organizations working together addressing these issues essential to an individual’s economic mobility and the community’s vitality. Examples include:

  • During 2017, we continued to build on our 30 years of partnering with Habitat for Humanity in our shared goal to connect working families to affordable housing in order to build thriving communities. The partnership is multi-faceted, including nearly $80 million in philanthropic funding for Habitat for Humanity’s work around the world, as well as robust volunteer efforts in local markets and regions. Employees give approximately 35,000 hours of volunteer time annually, supporting Habitat affiliates through board service, home build initiatives and financial literacy training for future homeowners. In our third Global Build held in partnership with Habitat last year, more than 2,500 employees volunteered their time to build homes and participate in community revitalization projects in more than 90 communities across six countries (China/Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia, Canada, Ireland and the U.S.).
  • For more than ten years, we’ve partnered with the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) to support the Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) program, which identifies small businesses in economically distressed communities and helps them build capacity and gain access to the capital they need to thrive in today’s competitive economy. The program has successfully raised over $1.4 billion in capital and created more than 12,000 jobs. With our support, ICCC has helped 1,136 companies in 336 cities around the U.S. Our employees make this work possible by volunteering their expertise to coach inner-city business leaders in financial management and leadership, helping them to achieve long-term sustainable growth.
  • For our financial centers in low- and moderate-income communities, we are deploying a tailored, community-centered approach that matches our resources to the unique needs of clients and small businesses in those communities. This includes connecting clients with the right mix of products, services, capital, job opportunities, partnerships and philanthropy to help achieve their goals and foster economic mobility.

We also help build thriving economies by supporting the growth of diverse businesses through our Supplier Diversity program, which develops relationships with vendors owned by minority, women, veteran and other diverse-owned suppliers. Learn more about how our work with suppliers helps communities in Vendor management.


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