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December 2, 2016
A letter from one of our funders, Gene Shaefer, Miami market president of Bank of America.

While many of us may take food, shelter and funds to pay the bills for granted, for many, access and availability of these basic human needs is far from guaranteed. Every day in Miami-Dade County, families are faced with difficult decisions about where they will sleep at night, what they will eat and how they will pay for items like electricity and clothing. With the weight of this burden, it can become nearly impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel or break out of a vicious cycle of poverty.

And while the work being done by many organizations and individuals is helping to make inroads, half of Miami-Dade County’s population is struggling with 21 percent living below the poverty line and 29 percent earning less than the cost of living and struggling to make ends meet, according to the United Way of Florida’s ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Report.

We know our community will continue to work tirelessly until every single family in our community is food and shelter secure. Central to this effort are the invaluable nonprofit organizations who provide a safety net for individuals and families so they can be connected with basic human services that help neighborhoods thrive.

That’s why recently, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation announced Catalyst Miami as a recipient of a 2016 Basic Human Services grant. Catalyst Miami will use the funds to sustain and grow their prosperity work to help low and middle income Miami residents lead healthy and financially stable lives by providing access to healthcare and benefits as well as financial/credit coaching and career/resume assistance.

Catalyst Miami is an anti-poverty nonprofit organization with a mission to develop and support individual leaders and strong organizations that work together to improve health, economic opportunity, and civic engagement in our community. They achieve this by providing basic needs services and offering a number of leadership trainings ranging from advocacy, parenting, climate resilience, and systemic poverty – all programs being free. To learn more about Catalyst Miami, visit

Providing financial support to these organizations is important, but it’s also critical to help people forge a path to economic stability. Through our Better Money Habits program and partnerships with several nonprofit organizations in our community, Bank of America aims to empower individuals with the knowledge and coaching to make strong financial decisions. We also value the donation of time and talent and thank all of the volunteers, including our Bank of America employees, who are so invested in these nonprofit causes and generously give their time, passion and expertise through volunteerism to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods.

Helping our neighbors get back on their feet with the basics is a great way to build a foundation for success in Miami Dade County because the more people we are able to move toward financial stability, the better off our whole community is.


Gene Schaefer
Miami Market President, Bank of America


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