COURTESY BANK OF AMERICA HANDING OVER THE MONEY, FIGURATIVELY — Peter Mannino, president, Bank of America East Central Florida, last fall presented a facsimile check for $50,000 to Susan Clark, who at the time was executive director of The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia in DeLand. The check represented a grant Bank of America awarded to the center after selecting it as the 2021 Bank of America Neighborhood Champion for East Central Florida because of the center’s work on homelessness.

Program provides $50,000 grant and virtual leadership training

The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia (NHC) has been named as the East Central Florida region’s 2021 Bank of America Neighborhood Champion for its work to prevent homelessness and provide shelter for the homeless in the Volusia area.

The organization received a $50,000 grant to increase rapid rehousing funding throughout the community, BoA announced in a news release in late fall.

The NHC of West Volusia can typically assist approximately 10 families with children for six months in the effort to rehouse and stabilize the family in safe, affordable housing. With the bank’s support, the nonprofit will be able to double the number of families served, thus reducing homelessness in the community.

As a Bank of America Neighborhood Champion, The Neighborhood Center also will participate in virtual leadership training delivered by experts in the nonprofit sector on topics like human capital management, increasing financial sustainability, and storytelling, the release said.

“The pandemic has only accelerated the need for critical affordable housing services provided by nonprofits like the Neighborhood Center of West Volusia,” Peter Mannino, president of Bank of America East Central Florida, said in the news release. “This organization’s role in preventing and reducing the amount of time a family is homeless helps bridge important gaps for them to charter a path toward economic opportunity.”

The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia has been providing services to the community for over 50 years. The agency’s services include several programs that lead to economic and social mobility, including food pantries, direct financial assistance for rent and utility payments, rapid rehousing, case management, partner agency referral services and life skills groups.

“This award is a great demonstration of the fantastic work of our team on behalf of the Neighborhood Center, and will make a profound positive impact through our Rapid Rehousing programs by providing increased levels of assistance to the community of West Volusia,” Susan Clark, then-executive director for The Neighborhood Center, said in the release before she retired in December. “We are looking forward to utilizing the leadership development component, which will benefit our agency by equipping our staff with the proper tools to guide and motivate. … We are grateful for this special recognition and the opportunities it will provide.”

The Neighborhood Champions program is an extension of the bank’s signature philanthropic initiative, Neighborhood Builders®, which BoA calls the largest corporate philanthropic investment in nonprofit leadership in the country. Since the program’s inception in 2019, Bank of America has invested $6.3 million in 126 organizations within 42 communities through the Neighborhood Champions program.

In addition to East Central Florida, the bank last fall brought the program to more than 42 additional communities across the U.S. as part of its commitment to investing in the long-term health of communities.

The Neighborhood Champions program is invitation-only for nonprofits who are poised to take their work to the next level. Leading members of the community participated in a collaborative selection process to identify this year’s awardee.

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