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Bank of America honors community builders

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Bank of America Charitable Foundation launched the sixth year of its Neighborhood Excellence Initiative, a philanthropic program devoted to recognizing organizations and leaders that have strengthened their local communities in 45 of the bank’s major markets.

“Leadership in our communities is more critical than it has ever been,” Andrew Plepler, president of the foundation, says in a statement. “As nonprofits wrestle with greater challenges and fewer resources, this program helps reinvigorate local economies, a key factor in addressing the current global crisis.”

The foundation plans to allocate $20 million this year to the initiative, which supports communities through three programs.

  • The Local Heroes program recognizes leaders who have contributed to the success of their local communities. The five recipients receive $5,000 each to go toward nonprofits of their choice.
  • The Student Leaders program recognizes five high-school students who have made significant differences in their neighborhoods. Each student participates in a Student Leadership Summit and a paid eight-week summer internship with a community-based organization.
  • The Neighborhood Builders program provides $200,000 each in unrestricted grant funding to two local nonprofits working to improve their neighborhoods.

Representatives from each of the Neighborhood Builder award winners also receive leadership training through the foundation’s Neighborhood Excellence Leadership Program.

The nearly 100 nonprofit leaders selected last year will attend the first of four training sessions, which will be held in Los Angeles Feb. 17-20. Subsequent sessions will be take place in Dallas, Philadelphia and Charlotte.

By the end of 2009, the Neighborhood Excellence Leadership Program will have provided training to more than 800 nonprofit representatives.

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has committed more than $90 million to the Neighborhood Excellence Initiative since the program’s inception in 2004.

This year, the foundation plans to launch a 10-year effort to donate a total of $2 billion to nonprofits working to improve their neighborhoods.

Applications for the 2009 Neighborhood Excellence Initiative are due Feb. 20 for Student Leaders and June 30 for Neighborhood Builders and Local Heroes.

Applications are available online.

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