November 14, 2019

AZ Business Magazine

Bank of America names 2019 Neighborhood Builder award recipients

Two Arizona nonprofits — St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) and United Food Bank — have been selected as 2019 Bank of America Neighborhood Builder award recipients for their work to fuel economic and social progress in low- and moderate- income communities. 

Each year, Bank of America recognizes high performing nonprofits in communities around the country and provides them with $200,000 each in grant funding to expand their programs. As part of their award, SVdP and United Food Bank will also receive leadership development, join a network of peer organizations across the U.S., and have the opportunity to access capital to expand their impact in the Phoenix community. 

According to Feeding America’s 2019 Map the Meal Gap study, 979,170 people in Arizona are struggling with hunger — and of them 348,550 are children. That’s one of out nine people and one out of five children — both exceeding the national average. Finding affordable housing in metropolitan Phoenix is also a growing issue, with evictions up and homelessness on the rise. The 2019 Point in Time Homeless Street Count found that the number of people experiencing homelessness increased in Maricopa County for the sixth straight year, growing to 6,614. 

“Our Neighborhood Builder program is an important investment in the community,” said Bank of America market president for Arizona Benito Almanza. “And the return on that investment is stronger, healthier families, more vibrant neighborhoods, and a better quality of life for those who need a helping hand. St. Vincent de Paul and United Food Bank are doing lifechanging work for so many families in need.”

St. Vincent de Paul feeds, clothes, houses and heals individuals and families in need through five charity dining rooms, an expansive neighborhood pantry and food box program, medical and dental care for the uninsured, transitional housing and homelessness prevention services like bill and utility assistance. To meet growing demand, SVdP recently expanded its South Phoenix campus to offer additional shelter and a new Resource Center for individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The Neighborhood Builders grant will be used to expand the center’s case management services that help people on their path to income and housing stability. The grant will also bolster homelessness prevention programs for families.

“We are so grateful to Bank of America for seeing the power in our work and supporting our efforts to prevent crises before they happen and offer comprehensive assistance for when they do,” Associate Executive Director Shannon Clancy said. “It’s only through community collaboration that we can continue to be a steady pillar of care for our community and a place for people to come when they have nowhere else to turn.

United Food Bank stabilizes the lives of hungry, low-income people by actively acquiring, storing, and distributing large quantities nutritious food to their network of community partners. With a focus on east Maricopa, Gila and Pinal counties along with southern Navajo and Apache counties, United Food Bank last year alone distributed over 17 million meals to help alleviate hunger for more than 400,000 people. As it plans to acquire Waste Not, a nonprofit that rescues food from grocery stores, convention centers, restaurants, and caterers, United Food Bank will use the Neighborhood Builder support to pilot new mobile applications and MealConnect software that will dramatically decrease food waste and deliver more people to those in need. This initiative will also pilot alternative uses of food waste to keep it out of landfills. 

“Food Banks are naturally collaborative. We form the backbone of many programs at non-profits and churches, which assist people in their journey out of poverty,” said Dave Richins, President/CEO of United Food Bank. “Without our food, clients in programs have difficulty achieving their goals. Providing a stable source of healthy food to hungry people helps break the cycle of hunger and chronic health issues by helping children, individuals and seniors worry about one less thing – putting food on the table.” With this award, United Food Bank and Waste Not will drive additional impact to feed people in our community. 

Through the Neighborhood Builders® program Bank of America deploys capital and builds cross-sector partnerships to advance nonprofit leaders addressing economic mobility and social progress issues communities across America. Since 2004, Bank of America has invested more than $220 million in 49 communities – partnering with more than 1,000 nonprofits and more than 2,000 nonprofit leaders by delivering flexible funding, leadership development and a network of peers.