CASA of San Bernardino County, Youth Action Partnership and Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy were a few of the 11 San Bernardino County non-profits awarded grant money courtesy of Bank of America in the sum of $125,000. A check presentation was held on Tuesday, June 19 in the lobby of the B of A in downtown San Bernardino.
The award is part of the $417,500 allocated by the financial institution to a total of 45 non-profits to help address the needs of those at risk for or experiencing homelessness across the Inland Empire. The grants focus on increasing access to shelter and wraparound supportive services, in addition to job skills, education and other basic needs that are fundamental to establishing financial stability.
As of April 2018, homelessness has increased by 13.5 percent in San Bernardino County and 3 percent in Riverside County, according to each county’s annual point-in-time count. Factors contributing to this increase include rising housing costs and the region’s lower than average educational attainment levels. At the same time, only 29 percent of residents age 25 and older have a Bachelor’s degree according to the April 2018 Inland Empire Quarterly Economic Report. With limited access to educational or career-readiness resources, many are unable to earn enough to meet basic needs like putting a roof over their head or food on the table, making the cycle of poverty difficult to break.
The nonprofits receiving funding helps put underserved residents in Riverside and San Bernardino counties on a path to economic sustainability by increasing access to emergency and short term supportive housing as well as basic needs like food and hygiene, in addition to services connecting youth to first-time jobs, providing alternative pathways to employment and helping people overcome past hardship in their careers, so that they can get on a path to financial stability.
“So many of us are just one life event away from being homeless or needing to depend on basic needs services such as food banks or shelters. But through strategic philanthropic investments into the Inland Empire’s incredible nonprofit network addressing fundamental services like hunger relief, shelter and education, Bank of America can deploy capital to advance more economic opportunities in the region,” said Al Arguello, Inland Empire Market President for Bank of America.”
One of the nonprofits receiving funding, Youth Action Project, will use it to match funding provide by the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board. As a result, 113 youth will have the opportunity to receive the services provided by GenerationGo!, which is San Bernardino County’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth Program. It’s a countywide program designed to provide work-based learning opportunities to eligible youth, ages 16 to 24. Youth can access a variety of career and educational services through Youth Action Project. YAP workforce services are designed to help enhance job skills, develop leadership qualities, explore career options, participate in adult and peer mentoring opportunities, and take advantage of work experiences.
“Bank of America has been a great neighbor and partner with Youth Action Project. Their support has helped YAP provide financial literacy and workforce development training for young adults throughout the Inland Region,” said Joseph Williams, CEO Youth Action Project.
Other San Bernardino County non-profits are: Arrowhead United Way/Women United, Catholic Charities San Bernardino & Riverside Counties, Childrens Fund, Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County, Crafton Hills College Foundation, Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council, Goodwill Southern California, Time for Change Foundation
Riverside county non-profits are: Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Empire, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Redlands – Riverside, Center for Educational Leadership, Childrens Fund, Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, Corona – Norco Rescue Mission, Desert Aids Project, Desert Manna, Desert ARC, Family Assistance Program, Feeding America Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, FIND Food Bank, Foothill Family Shelter, Fox Riverside Theatre Foundation, Hidden Harvest, HomeAid Inland Empire, Idyllwild Help Center, Inland Empire United Way, Inspire Life Skills Training, Jewish Family Service of the Desert, Ophelia Project, OPARC, Operation Safe House, Promise Safehouse, Raincross Boxing Academy, Rebirth Homes, Rim of the World Educational Foundation, Riverside Community College District Foundation, Riverside Meals on Wheels, T H I N K Together, The Girlfriend Factor, and Voices for Children.
These grants are part of the company’s commitment to responsible growth as it works to improve the financial lives of individuals and families. Philanthropic and volunteer investments play a key role in this effort to build thriving communities. In 2017, Bank of America volunteers logged nearly 18,000 volunteer hours in the Inland Empire market alone.