Miki C. Akimoto, Bank of America

TITLE: Market Philanthropic Director                                         

FUNDING AREAS: Education, health care, human services

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

IP TAKE: Akimoto is in charge of dozens of bank-based philanthropy foundations. If you're unsure of which foundation to contact, ask Akimoto for advice. Choose the one that best matches your program's objectives because your application won't carry over from one foundation to the next.

PROFILE: Relationships between banking corporations and philanthropy foundations are generally convoluted and tangled in bureaucracy, so Market Philanthropic Director Miki Akimoto has the job of seeing the inner workings of Bank of America from a lot of different perspectives. Akimoto is in charge of managing the grants given several dozen private foundations under Bank of America's umbrella. That's right, dozens. Talk about a lot of people to answer to and a lot to wrap your head around.

Bank of America serves as the trustee for dozens of philanthropic foundations, including the Lloyd G. Balfour Foundation, the Doree Taylor Charitable Foundation, and the Harold Brooks Foundation. These foundations pool together to give away about $11 million every year, a majority of which stays within the borders of Massachusetts. One thing that these dozens of oundations have in common is their program focus areas: education, health care, and human services.

Akimoto is the woman who keeps all the gears turning, and her job includes keeping all the guidelines and deadlines straight between 30 or so foundations and fielding inquiries from organizations wanting a piece out of all of them.

Akimoto is a graduate of Stanford University with a bachelor's degree in political science. Before joining the Bank of America team, Akimoto built up her resume as acting president at Associated Grant Makers, director of grant management at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, as a program officer for Corporation for National Service, and as a project director for Circle Solutions—a totality of experience that means she understands a wide range of giving and implementation that serves her very well in her current position.

Akimoto also serves on the board of directors at the poverty and violence prevention nonprofit Full Frame Initiative, the Boston Foundation for Architecture, and the Council on Foundations' Professional Development Committee. She is also a member of the Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy.

It should come as no surprise that any grant proposal you submit to a bank-based philanthropy will need to pass through a lot of hoops to get funded. After an application passes through Akimoto's hands, it will be reviewed by a grants manager, then a program officer, then perhaps an advisory committee, and finally a distribution committee. Regardless, Akimoto is your key to opening that initial bank safe.

Since Akimoto is involved with so many foundations, she has a unique perspective on which foundation will connect with your organization the best. She makes herself accessible, so reach out and ask some questions if you're unsure of which foundation's program to apply to. Akimoto can be reached directly at miki.akimoto@ustrust.com.