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

OVERVIEW: The Bank of America Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the international bank, seeks to “address critical issues facing our neighborhoods and communities,” including support of community-based K-12 education programs in specific cities and regions where the bank does business throughout the United States. The foundation supports K-12 education through the lens of 21st century workforce development. 

IP TAKE: BofA wants to see "high impact" and "visionary" work. K-12 community programs stand a better chance of earning funding than do individual schools.

PROFILE: “High-impact” and “visionary” are two terms the Bank of America Charitable Foundation uses to describe the organizations that earn its support.

In the realm of K-12 education, that boils down to initiatives that ultimately address 21st century skill training, high school graduation rates, college matriculation rates, teen unemployment rates, and—because this is Bank of America after all—better money habits.

One of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s larger goals is empowering people into securing lucrative and fulfilling jobs. The foundation’s support of K-12 education comes under this larger umbrella, formally described as “Jobs: Workforce development and education.” 

For the “Next generation”—including those K-12 students—the foundation’s mission is “Connecting young people to skills and educational opportunities with an emphasis on those who are facing unprecedented challenges obtaining to employment and work experience.”

The foundation's website states that it does not give money to individual schools, but some of its recent granting (see below) runs contrary to that claim; more likely, the foundation prefers community organizations to individual schools, but within certain RFP's and circumstances, the latter can successfully apply.

Regardless of the type of non-profit organization, the vast majority of the foundation's K-12 funding (which includes direct operating support) can be seen through the lens of employment now and/or more lucrative employment in the future.

The foundation currently has its sights on a specific list U.S. cities and city-regions—but they are major ones that cover much of the country: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Greater Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, San Diego, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Silicon Valley, South Florida, and Greater Washington, D.C. That said, recent grants have also gone to organizations outside these regions, so be sure to check the foundation’s website for updates.

Recent K-12 Ed education grants elucidate the foundation’s giving in this direction:

$317,500 in 2014 to Southern Florida organizations, distributed to organizations such as:

  • The Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County (Florida), with funds specifically earmarked for its Career Paths for Next Generations program, providing 450 teenagers academic enrichment, mentorship, and career training and exploration;
  • Take Stock of Children of Broward, which provides mentors, student advocacy, college and career readiness to at-risk and low-income students.

$15,000 in 2014 to Goodwill Denver’s Youth Career Program, for the career development of students at 33 at-risk schools in metropolitan Denver and northern Colorado.

$3,700 in 2014 to Sebastian and Vero Beach High Schools (Florida) to support the opening of their Industrial Bio Technology Academies.

More information on Bank of America's giving can be found by reading its annual Corporate Social Responsibility reports.

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s RFPs are announced on its website, including submission deadlines and a link to an online application portal.

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