As 2020 presented extraordinary challenges to communities around the world, we witnessed incredible resilience and ingenuity across nonprofit organizations here in the Northwest as they bravely served their communities. At Bank of America, we focus on fostering economic mobility in the communities we serve – which guides our strategy in partnering with community organizations across a variety of sectors. In the U.S., the pandemic hit our region first, and we quickly took action to work with local partners to meet the needs of our neighbors.
In March 2020, as the health and humanitarian crisis unfolded, Bank of America committed $100 million to organizations serving under-resourced populations – in addition to the $250 million our foundation gives annually. As the need to act to address systemic racial inequities came into sharper focus, Bank of America made a $1 billion, four-year commitment to help local communities address racial equality and economic opportunity. In the Northwest, we distributed $7.8 million in unrestricted funding to local nonprofits throughout 2020, with a focus on alleviating the unprecedented impacts to health, food insecurity, jobs, education and communities in wildfire zones. We believe that the organizations we support have the power to best identify the needs their populations are experiencing. As a result, they lead the way in directing where funding and resources would be most impactful – whether it was for personal protective equipment (PPE), deferring childcare costs for essential workers or mortgage assistance programs.
We commend the creative efforts of our nonprofit partners as they continue to work tirelessly. Here is a look at how some of our funding was deployed across our regions:
Philanthropic investments included grants to Fred Hutch to support rapid COVID-19 testing development, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of King County to offset childcare costs for essential workers. We also invested to expand the collaborative Community Kitchens for Affordable Housing Program, gave local restaurant owners funding to feed affordable housing residents facing food insecurity. Puget Sound-area employees dedicated 6,455 hours in virtual volunteering to local causes and projects.
Oregon and Southwest Washington
One of our major investments involved funding for Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center's efforts to mitigate health care disparities and increase COVID-19 testing to hardest hit Hispanic/Latino communities in rural Washington and Yamhill counties. We also donated 70,000 pieces of PPE across the region and helped the Oregon and Clark County Food Banks meet the growing demand for service amid increasing procurement expenses.
Spokane and Boise
We partnered with Spokane Neighborhood Action Partners (SNAP) to support their housing counseling program, as more families faced challenges paying their mortgage during the crisis. We also worked with Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington to provide PPE and the SAFE Fund for Boise students seeking basic need assistance.
The nonprofit sector continues to experience unprecedented demand for critical services to support populations disproportionately impacted by crises, such as seniors and communities of color. As a major company and employer, Bank of America recognizes our responsibility to serve and strengthen our local communities however we can.
To learn more about Bank of America’s community grants and sponsorships visit our website. To contact any of the contributors, please email Britney Sheehan, Regional Media Relations Manager for Pacific Northwest.