Nearly 30 nonprofits in the Garden State will receive grants from Bank of America to help fund efforts to drive economic opportunity for individuals and families.
BofA – which boasts 11,000 employees in N.J. – announced the awards July 20. According to the financial institution, the grants focus on providing workforce development and education tools to help people start out on the path to employment, and beyond.
They also address needs for ensuring stability, like access to food.
Slow, but steady
“Compared to other states, New Jersey did a decent job of ensuring that workplaces were safe,” said Todd Vachon, director of the Labor Education Action Research Network at Rutgers.
“Our minimum wage and social safety net are better than most other states, but our cost of living is higher. Affordable housing is an important area for future investment.”
Read more: NJ job market improves, but gains are uneven
“We’ve chosen to partner with nonprofits that address the most critical issues facing New Jersey, including workforce development, food insecurity, and economic and social progress,” said Alberto Garofalo, president, Bank of America New Jersey. “Our philanthropic investment in these organizations helps us deploy capital locally, where it will have the most impact and build sustainable communities.”
In New Jersey, where the cost of living is notoriously and comparatively high, employment plays a key part in driving economic mobility. And that’s an area where New Jersey is still lagging following the onset of COVID-19. The national unemployment rate is 3.6%. Meanwhile – and though the state has added back more than 95% of jobs lost at the pandemic’s peak in spring 2020 – New Jersey’s was still above that at 3.9%, according to preliminary data released in June 2022.
That’s why Bank of America says it’s focusing on workforce development and educational opportunities in the state – to provide the tools and means to achieve employment.
Since 2017, BofA says it’s provided $30 million to groups in the Garden State as part of its commitment to responsible growth. On top of that, its workers here have contributed their time: 350,000 volunteer hours of it.
The complete list of grant recipients is:
- America’s Grow-a-Row
- Community FoodBank of NJ
- CUMAC Echo
- Elijah’s Promise
Closer look: La Casa de Don Pedro
Founded in 1972, this Newark-based organization’s mission is to foster self-sufficiency, empowerment and neighborhood revitalization. The BofA grant will help to address underlying issues hindering the economic mobility of minority communities in the Brick City and the surrounding area, with a particular focus on Hispanic women.
“Our goal is to reverse the trajectory of social, racial, political, and economic dislocations and the marginalization of children and families,” said President and CEO Peter Rosario in a statement. “With this support, we will be equipped with the tools we need to support programs that improve the quality of life for Newark residents.”
- Eva’s Village
- La Casa de Don Pedro
- Oasis – A Haven for Women and Children
- Parker Family Health Center
- Paterson Task Force for Community Action
- St. Paul’s Community Development Corporation
- Table to Table
- Trenton Area Soup Kitchen
- United Way of Bergen County
- York Street Project
- Fairleigh Dickinson University Veterans Launching Ventures
- Greater Newark Conservancy
- Interfaith Neighbors
- Junior Achievement of New Jersey
- New City Kids
- The Father Center
- Trinitas Foundation
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