Bank of America has awarded $200,000 in grants to 17 Fresno and Visalia area nonprofits dedicated to advancing economic mobility for individuals and families, the bank announced Wednesday.
The grants fund resources for workforce development and education that help people chart a path to better economic futures and lifelong stability.
1 in 5 Fresno County Residents Report Food Hardship
According to the Food Research and Action Center, Fresno County has the third-highest rates of hunger and food insecurity in the nation. More than 1 in 5 county residents report food hardship.
“So many of us are just one life event away from needing to depend on basic needs services such as food banks or shelters, while others remain under-employed lacking the evolving job skills necessary to be part of today’s booming workforce economy,” said Mark Riley, Fresno-Visalia market president at Bank of America.
“But through strategic philanthropic investments into the Central Valley’s incredible nonprofit network, Bank of America is deploying its capital to advance more economic opportunities in the region.”
For example, GRID Alternatives will put its $10,000 grant toward a program providing free training to people interested in becoming solar power installers. These are entry-level jobs paying between $14 and $18 an hour. In 2018, GRID placed 47 graduates into living-wage employment.
“GRID is grateful for our Bank of America grant, which will help us build out our training center and also help improve trainees’ soft skills, such as teamwork and communication,” said Jesse Arreguin, GRID’s development officer. “Next year, our goal is to train a minimum of 150 people.”
Marjaree Mason Center Awarded Grant
Another grant recipient, the Marjaree Mason Center, will use its $10,000 grant to support its 24/7 safe house program for abused women. The program includes services to prevent homelessness and offer safety, including short- and longer-term shelter.
“Unfortunately, there is a great need for our services in Fresno County, where domestic violence call rates are 63% higher than the state average,” said Nicole Linder, the center’s executive director. “This grant will help us continue meeting each client where they’re at mentally and emotionally, and offer support and guidance to help them transition to a life free of violence.”
Other Grant Recipients
The other grant recipients are Central California Food Bank, Central Valley Community Foundation, Community Services & Employment Training (CSET), Family Services of Tulare County, Foodlink for Tulare County, the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation, Fresno First Steps Home, the Fresno Rescue Mission, Junior Achievement of Northern California, Live Again Fresno, Pro-Youth, Reading and Beyond, the United Way of Fresno County, the Visalia Emergency Aid Council, and the Visalia Rescue Mission.