Bank of America has named The Challenge Program as a 2015 Neighborhood Builder.
The nonprofit is being recognized for its work to provide job training, education and job placement services to more than 300 at-risk youth in Wilmington.
The Challenge Program is located in the East Side neighborhood, where 64 percent of residents over the age of 18 are living in poverty. Neighborhood Builders combines leadership-development resources with $200,000 of flexible funding to help increase the program’s capacity and impact in the Wilmington community.
“We recognize that nonprofits and their leaders are on the frontlines as they tackle tough community issues that are vital to the well-being of Wilmington,” said Chip Rossi, Delaware market president, Bank of America. “The Challenge Program already provides critical assistance that helps individuals and families in Wilmington receive comprehensive services, job training and guidance, with the ultimate goal of achieving independence. The Neighborhood Builders grant will further support the Challenge Program by providing funding for its new social enterprise, CP Furniture − an initiative designed to create jobs and valuable work experiences for Challenge Program graduates.”
For more than 20 years, the Challenge Program has provided job training, education and case management for 18-24 year olds in Wilmington who are basic skills deficient, low-income and unemployed. Many trainees come from neighborhoods with systemic poverty and high crime rates, and where more than half of working-age adults are unemployed.
“True independence from unemployment and poverty is often only achieved when an individual can earn a position in a decent paying full-time job with benefits and a support structure, but this is not always easy,” said Andrew McKnight, Executive Director, Challenge Program.
“Since 2004, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation has invested $183 million in more than 900 nonprofit organizations and provided leadership resources to nearly 2,000 nonprofit leaders through Neighborhood Builders and the Neighborhood Builders Leadership Program. This long-term investment in nonprofit leadership development and capacity building is the largest philanthropic investment of its kind,” he said.
“Neighborhood Builders is just one example of our broader corporate social responsibility efforts to build vibrant communities and economies. By advancing partnerships with nonprofits addressing needs related to community development, basic human services and workforce development and education, we are working to increase financial stability and help individuals and families find the pathways out of poverty,” he said.