Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando & Osceola County and ELEVATE Orlando have been named as the 2020 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders awardees in the Orlando area.
The nonprofits were selected for their work in the community addressing issues fundamental to economic mobility, specifically, expanding access for homeownership to underserved families and individuals and by helping fuel economic and social progress in low-and moderate-income communities.
As an awardee, each organization receives a $200,000 grant, a year of leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader, a network of peer organizations across the U.S. and the opportunity to access capital to expand their impact. Since 2004, Bank of America has invested over $260 million in 50 communities through Neighborhood Builders, partnering with more than 1,300 non-profits and helping more than 2,600 non-profit leaders strengthen their leadership skills.
“Nonprofits are the backbone of our community, and now more than ever they need our support to ensure that those they serve have the tools and resources to meet their evolving needs,” said Steven Alch, Orlando market president for Bank of America. “The Neighborhood Builders program is just one example of how we help communities build cross-sector partnerships and advance economic and social progress in a responsible way.”
Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando & Osceola County works to improve access to affordable housing while providing the benefits of safe homeownership to underserved people in the community. The organization will use the Bank of America funds to expand new and existing programs, including new single-family home construction, enroll new clients looking to become homeowners, and grow their mentorship program. Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando & Osceola County selected Heddaliz (Liz) Alicea-Madera, director of homeowner services, as its emerging leader.
“Our community is facing an unprecedented moment when each of us has been forced to deeply consider the fundamental importance of home. The heartbreaking needs of our neighbors have never been more pronounced. Thousands of Central Florida families are struggling with the financial impossibilities of unaffordable rent and unstable living conditions,” said Catherine Steck McManus, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando & Osceola County. “Bank of America has brought light and hope to these challenging times through their generosity. We are never more human than when we come together in an hour of need, and Bank of America’s extraordinary award indeed arrived when it was most needed.”
ELEVATE Orlando helps fuel economic and social progress in low-and moderate-income communities by connecting students to mentorship and resources that will enable them to become productive adults who thrive and contribute to their community. The organization will utilize the funds to expand services to existing client families who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic. They will help connect them with resources and training to get back into the job market. ELEVATE Orlando selected Xinia Reyes, Post-Secondary Coordinator, as its emerging leader.
“We are incredibly grateful for the Neighborhood Builders program and for being selected as a recipient of this award,” said Sherry Paramore, president of ELEVATE Orlando. “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our students and their families profoundly, and now more than ever, they are struggling with unforeseen complications. Our Teacher-Mentors are available 24 hours a day to help these students with the support they need. This grant will allow us to continue providing these necessary resources to our students, as well as their families, who are now also struggling.”
The Neighborhood Builders program is an opportunity to provide relevant skills development and topics to help nonprofit leaders address current and future community challenges. Each year, Bank of America refines the Neighborhood Builders Leadership Program to include topics ranging from strategic storytelling to human capital management, and highlights themes that are critical to moving the nonprofit sector forward within broader societal and economic context.
Since 2004, through its Neighborhood Builders program, Bank of America has partnered with 25 non-profits in the Orlando market, investing $5 million to economic mobility efforts within the Orlando area. The invitation-only program is highly competitive, and leading members of the community participated in a collaborative selection process to identify this year’s awardees. Examples of the leadership training topics include human capital management, increasing financial sustainability, and storytelling. Neighborhood Builders is just one example of how Bank of America deploys capital in communities, builds cross-sector partnerships, and promotes socioeconomic progress as part of its approach to responsible growth.