featured graphic for Bank of America

Bank of America awards $530,000 philanthropic investment into Orange County nonprofits to advance long-term economic success

Bank of America announced $530,000 in grants to 20 Orange County nonprofits to help drive economic opportunity for individuals and families. This first round of grants from the bank focus on workforce development and education to help individuals chart a path to employment and better economic futures, as well as basic needs fundamental to building life-long stability. Specifically, these local grants include support for job reskilling, food insecurity, affordable housing/shelter, youth education and employment, and healthcare. 

According to new data in the 2021 Out of Reach Report from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, the median wage needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Orange County is $93,240, with a minimum wage earner needing to work two 60-hour work weeks to afford that same unit, demonstrating the need for higher paying jobs. As the cost of living continues to rise, the recent Report on the Conditions of Children in Orange County reveals that one in seven Orange County children live in poverty. 

Local nonprofit Families Forward helps families in need achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through housing, food, counseling, education and other support services.  It is also a county leader in helping families at-risk of experiencing homelessness find stable housing, while providing comprehensive supportive services, successfully preventing or ending homelessness for thousands of children and their parents.  As government COVID relief funding expires, Bank of America’s support will help ensure OC families experiencing homelessness have assistance with housing, food, and mental health security. 

“By providing vulnerable families with the tools and resources needed to find stable housing and regain financial self-sufficiency, they can break generational cycles of poverty and create an environment of positive child development,” said Madelynn Hirneise, CEO, Families Forward. “That’s our mission, and we appreciate Bank of America’s support in helping to advance our work.”

Another local grantee, Girls Inc. of Orange County, provides year-round programs and activities for girls ages 5-18, focusing on financial literacy, STEM, sound body image, healthy relationships, and college and career readiness. The bank’s funding supports The Girls Meet the Workforce program, which gives high school girls valuable workforce readiness and life skills training. Participants in 11th and 12th grades also have the opportunity for summer “on the job” placement at a local organization, with a stipend, and a career mentor. 

“The pandemic has been tougher on women than men, and it battered the industries where women’s employment is more concentrated,” said Lucy Santana-Ornelas, CEO, Girls Inc. of Orange County. “Our partnership with Bank of America will enable us to even the playing field for many young women throughout Orange County.”

Other organizations receiving grants include: 

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Orange Coast
  • Community Action Partnership of Orange County
  • Chrysalis Center
  • Families Forward
  • Friendship Shelter
  • Girls Inc. of Orange County 
  • Goodwill Industries of Orange County
  • High School, Inc. 
  • Hope Builders
  • Human Options
  • J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center
  • KidWorks Community Development Corporation
  • Meals on Wheels of Orange County 
  • Mercy Housing Living Centers
  • Orange County Rescue Mission
  • Orange County United Way
  • Project Hope Alliance
  • Reimagine Network
  • The Wooden Floor for Youth Movement
  • Working Wardrobes for a New Start

“Orange County is an incredibly resilient community, and our nonprofit sector is an important part of ensuring we’re readying to meet the challenges and opportunities of our ever-changing economic and social landscape,” said Allen Staff, president, Bank of America Orange County. “Investing in organizations addressing issues like job reskilling, food insecurity, affordable housing/shelter, youth employment and family services is part of our approach to driving economic opportunity and social progress in Orange County. “This recent philanthropic investment in OC nonprofits is just one way Bank of America deploys capital locally to help remove barriers to economic success and build a more sustainable community.” 

These grants are the initial round of dollars directed to local nonprofits this year, with more to come throughout the year. Last year alone, Bank of America awarded $2 million in grants to local nonprofits, and employees volunteered 35,000 hours to local causes in Orange County to help build thriving communities. 

This article was released by the Bank of America.