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Commitment to Community Thought Leadership

Economic Mobility for Atlanta Neighborhoods

By Wendy Stewart, Atlanta Market President for Bank of America

While 2020 has been a year we will never forget — from a global pandemic devastating communities everywhere, to the fight against racial inequities reaching unprecedented heights —the fundamental importance of access to economic mobility remains a critical focus in Atlanta. But what is economic mobility? In essence, it is the ability to improve one’s economic status, usually measured in income. Look more closely and you will see that economic mobility is central to nearly every aspect of life, from larger milestones like home buying and retirement, to more immediate needs, including education and reliable health care.

Advancing economic mobility among Atlantans has been and will be a communal effort; we must create sustainable jobs, revitalize our neighborhoods and, most importantly, recognize that our greatest resource is the untapped potential of each individual who lives and works in our city.

At Bank of America, we are committed to advancing economic and social progress through community investments that focus on workforce development, health, basic needs, small business support, and affordable housing and neighborhood revitalizations. One way we help bolster thriving communities is through our Neighborhood Builders® program.

Neighborhood Builders® is Bank of America’s signature philanthropic program that advances economic mobility and nonprofit leadership. It creates more sustainable communities by providing nonprofits with tools to develop stronger strategic plans, chart a succession plan and enhance funding opportunities.

Earlier this month, Atlanta BeltLine Partnership (ABP) and Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RCIE) were named as the 2020 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® awardees for Atlanta. The nonprofits were selected for their work in ensuring opportunities are within reach for all Atlantans, specifically affordable housing and job creation.

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, through its Neighborhood Builders® program, Bank of America has partnered with 34 nonprofits in Atlanta, investing $6.8 million to provide financial education and economic mobility opportunities in the region. 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.

There’s no doubt 2020 will go down as one of the most challenging years in recent memory. A pandemic has taken its toll on the health, economy, and social fiber of our community, and many families and individuals have lost loved ones and are finding themselves at more of a disadvantage than ever before.

However, as public, private and nonprofit organizations work to address economic mobility, we have the opportunity to create meaningful change here. Working together, we can ensure the path to success is open to all.


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