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Bank of America Names Catalyst Miami and Casa Valentina, Inc. 2020 Neighborhood Builders®

Program Provides $400,000 in Flexible Funding and Leadership Skills Development Training to Advance Economic Mobility in Miami-Dade County


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MIAMI – Catalyst Miami and Casa Valentina, Inc. have been named as the 2020 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® awardees for Miami-Dade County. The nonprofits were selected for their work in the Miami-Dade community addressing issues fundamental to economic mobility, specifically affordable housing and long-term community development wellness.

As an awardee, each organization receives a $200,000 grant, a year of leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader, a network of peer organizations across the U.S., and the opportunity to access capital to expand their impact. Since 2004, Bank of America has invested over $260 million in 50 communities through Neighborhood Builders®, partnering with more than 1,300 nonprofits and helping more than 2,600 nonprofit leaders strengthen their leadership skills. 

“Our nonprofits have delivered immeasurable support to vulnerable communities throughout Miami-Dade County,” said Gene Schaefer, Miami market president for Bank of America. “Our Neighborhood Builders® program can’t come at a better time for these organizations as they try to meet the evolving needs of those they serve. This investment allows us to empower local nonprofits to double down on their efforts in addressing economic mobility and social progress issues in the regions they serve.”

Catalyst Miami’s mission is to identify and collectively solve issues adversely affecting low-wealth communities throughout Miami-Dade County. They help ensure that families’ basic needs are met, provide coaching and tools to establish long-term wellness, and create effective coalitions of change-makers. The organization will use the Bank of America funds to hire and train new staff members who will provide technical assistance for small businesses. Catalyst Miami selected Ahmed Mori, senior director of community economic development, to become its emerging leader.

“We’re thrilled and thankful to have been selected for the Neighborhood Builders award. Catalyst Miami has been creating paths to economic mobility for 25 years and we are excited to have expanded our services to support workers and small businesses, which are key to a thriving South Florida economy,” said Gretchen A. Beesing, CEO for Catalyst Miami.

Casa Valentina, Inc.’s mission is to provide at-risk and former foster care youth with safe, affordable housing, life skills and continued support so that they can achieve and maintain self-sufficiency. The organization will utilize the funds to fortify existing programs, provide resident support and hire a development consultant to help create a customer relationship management system, processes, and infrastructure to help them move to the next level. Casa Valentina has selected Alexis Adams, program director, as its emerging leader.

“Since becoming Casa Valentina’s Executive Director last year, I have been actively at work to make sure the legacy of the past 14 years remains a strong foundation to build upon as we continue to grow and seek to move to the next level. I am committed to elevating our presence and to continuing to improve our outcomes by working closely with our Board, staff, residents, volunteers, and donors to create a culture of excellence,” Janice M. Graham, executive director for Casa Valentina, Inc. “Thank you, Bank of America, for helping us realize our vision.  As our youth would say, ‘Casa Valentina is a place we call home.’”

The Neighborhood Builders® program is an opportunity to provide relevant skills development and topics to help nonprofit leaders address current and future community challenges. Each year, Bank of America refines the Neighborhood Builders Leadership Program to include topics ranging from strategic storytelling to human capital management, and highlights themes that are critical to moving the nonprofit sector forward within broader societal and economic context.

Since 2004, through its Neighborhood Builders® program, Bank of America has partnered with 25 nonprofits in Miami-Dade County, investing $5 million to nonprofits that focus on workforce development and education, basic needs, and community development within the Miami-Dade County area. The invitation-only program is highly competitive, and leading members of the community participated in a collaborative selection process to identify this year’s awardees. Examples of the leadership training topics include human capital management, increasing financial sustainability, and storytelling. Neighborhood Builders® is just one example of how Bank of America deploys capital in communities, builds cross-sector partnerships, and promotes socioeconomic progress as part of its approach to responsible growth.



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