Behind a New Corporate Bank Grant for Philadelphia Jobs

Some global corporate funders seem a bit too large and intimidating to approachthat is, until you learn about their steady local giving strategies. The Bank of the American Charitable Foundation gave over $3.1 million in support in Pennsylvania in 2013, and it just made news for a new jobs grant in Philly.

The bank foundation just announced a $40,000 grant to the Urban League of Philadelphia, which will go toward a local career center for unemployed and underemployed Philadelphia residents. This money supports job search workshops, digital literacy training, programs that provide access to employers, and resume support. Over 700 people sought help from this career center last year; however, only 130 of those individuals were able to find employment.

"Bank of America is committed to supporting organizations that connect Philadelphians to educational opportunities, valuable work experiences and long-term financial stability," said Thomas Woodward, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Market President at Bank of America. "The Urban League of Philadelphia is a shining example, dedicated to helping the local community succeed. We hope that this grant funding will serve to continue the League's increasingly important mission of empowerment and self-sufficiency."

So if you’re a Philadelphia nonprofit, how can you tap into some of these Bank of America funds?

Well, this funder does make quite a few arts grants around the country.

Related: Where is Bank of America's $32 million in Arts Funding? and Bank of America's Arts Philanthropy – Loaning Art

It’s also been involved in education grantmaking.

Related: Bank of America Charitable Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

But in Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania, this funder has mostly been into small business loans and home loans. In 2013 alone, Bank of America committed $182.9 million in credit to small businesses around the state—a 24 percent increase from 2012. That year, it gave nearly $3.2 million to local nonprofit organizations, including matching gifts from the foundation. Bank of America is also into the environment in Pennsylvania, with support for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

Overall, Bank of America's current grantmaking priorities are jobs, housing, and hunger. You can begin the grant application process by completing an online eligibility quiz.

However, Philadelphia isn't one of Bank of America’s focus metro areas at the moment. At least for now, the funder is keeping eyes on Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, D.C., Houston, New York, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Phoenix, Seattle, Silicon Valley, and South Florida.

So basically, this jobs grant exemplifies how dire the employment situation is Philadelphia and the need for funding for this local issue area. Local nonprofits may see sporadic support from high-profile funders like this, but they can’t depend on it for steady funding. Hopefully, some of the more Philadelphia-focused foundations can pick up the slack to eease the city of its employment woes.

For detailed profiles of locally-focused funders in the Philadelphia area, check out our Philadelphia Funding Guide