Literacy KC and Big Brother Big Sisters of Kansas City Named as Bank of America’s 2023 Neighborhood Builders®

Each Nonprofit Will Receive $200,000 in Flexible Funding and Leadership Training to Advance Economic Mobility in Kansas City


Member News

Kansas City, MO – Bank of America today announced Literacy KC and Big Brother Big Sisters Kansas City as 2023 Neighborhood Builders® for their work advancing economic mobility and strengthening underserved neighborhoods in Kansas City. Through this multi-year grant, each will receive funding and extensive leadership training for the nonprofits’ leadership, programs and services addressing intergenerational literacy barriers and tackling the lack of role models in young people’s lives.

The Bank of America Neighborhood Builders program is one of the largest philanthropic investments into nonprofit leadership development in the nation, providing comprehensive leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader on topics ranging from increasing financial sustainability, human capital management and strategic storytelling, and the opportunity to join a national network of peer organizations. Each Builder is also awarded a $200,000 grant over two years.

“Nonprofits are vital to solving social challenges, improving communities and promoting economic advancement," said Matt Linski, president, Bank of America Kansas City. “Providing these nonprofits with flexible funding and leadership training not only positions these nonprofits for sustainable, long-term success, but demonstrates our commitment to creating real change in the places where we live and work.”

Literacy KC targets the root causes of inequity that result in intergenerational literacy barriers and prevent exiting poverty. By offering free adult education, workforce development and family literacy programs, Literacy KC helps about 2,000 students each year advance their careers and education, so that they can find self-sufficiency and lead happy, engaged lives. This new grant funding will help Literacy KC expand its programming to further its impact on the community and serve more students.

“We are excited and grateful to be receiving support from the Neighborhood Builders program,” said Gillian Helm, CEO, Literacy KC. “This funding will help position us to be able to meet the need in Kansas City and make some of the strides that we’re planning. We’re positioned really well to make great advances in our workplace development program, specifically helping students receive work education.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City (BBBSKC) works to clear the path to a child’s biggest possible future by matching them with a caring, adult mentor in a one-to-one friendship.  Last year, 100% of Senior Littles graduated high school, 83% reported improved self-esteem and 71% reported improved grades since being matched. BBBSKC received funding from the Neighborhood Builders program in 2008, which helped the organization grow and achieve further success. This year, BBBSKC plans to use the grant funding to develop two new programs.  Big Futures will provide a curriculum of college and workforce development opportunities for Littles beginning in 8th grade.  Unmatched Potential will provide resources and group mentoring opportunities for Littles while they wait for their Big.

“We’re incredibly honored to be chosen again,” said Micheal Lawrence, CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City. “The opportunity to create a new initiative will help strengthen our community. One of our goals was to help people graduate from high school, but today we need to do more. Big Futures will support kids after graduation until they’re meaningfully employed. We’re also designing a program to bring services, support and opportunities while waiting for their Big, called Unmatched Potential.”

The invitation-only program is highly competitive. Nonprofits are selected by a committee comprised of community leaders and past Builders awardees. Thirty-three nonprofits have been selected as Neighborhood Builders in Kansas City since 2004, with the bank investing $6.6 million into these local nonprofits.

Since 2004, Bank of America has invested more than $300 million in nearly 100 communities across the U.S., partnered with more than 1,600 nonprofits, and helped more than 3,000 nonprofit leaders strengthen their leadership skills through the Neighborhood Builders and Champions program.

Bank of America

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