THEARC Awarded Bank of America's Neighborhood Builder Grant

THEARC Awarded Bank of America's Neighborhood Builder Grant

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has named Literacy Council of Northern Virginia (LCNV) and Building Bridges Across the River (BBAR) as Neighborhood Builders. The nonprofits are being recognized for their work helping low and moderate income individuals gain access to education, healthcare, and other basic human services. Currently marking its tenth anniversary, Neighborhood Builders is a strategic investment in communities that combines $200,000 in flexible funding with leadership training for high-performing nonprofits and their executives.

“We’re proud to support the work of Building Bridges Across the River and the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, as they work to improve the quality of life and help empower their constituents to participate more fully in our community,” said Jeff Wood, Greater Washington market president, Bank of America. “The leadership training and funding they’ll receive through Neighborhood Builders will allow them to expand their efforts to support the underserved residents in the Greater Washington area.” 

Serving the community east of the Anacostia River in Wards 7 and 8, BBAR manages the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC). Wards 7 and 8 are home to one of the most vulnerable populations in Washington D.C., with nearly half of the children living below the federal poverty line. Through a collaboration of ten nonprofit partner organizations, THEARC provides high-quality educational, health, cultural, recreational and social service programs designed to revitalize the community and help at-risk youth. THEARC enables local kids to participate in dance classes, music instruction, fine arts, and academic activities. In addition, THEARC provides residents medical, dental, and psychiatric and psychological care at substantially reduced cost or no cost. The support through Neighborhood Builders will help BBAR expand its operating capacity to focus on at-risk youth and provide food and nutrition and workforce development programming to the community. 

LCNV teaches adults the basic skills of reading, writing, speaking and understanding English, empowering them to participate more fully in the community.

Thirty-eight percent of Fairfax County residents speak a language other than English in their homes. Of those speaking a different language, 40 percent report they do not speak English “very well.” As the demographics in Northern Virginia have shifted, LCNV has evolved from its origins as a literacy program for native speakers to a multi-faceted organization serving low-income immigrants with limited English proficiency. LCNV provides language- and literacy-based life and work skills for the beginning level ‘English for speakers of other languages’ (ESOL) learner in topics that present introductory skills in computer, financial and health literacy.

LCNV will use the Neighborhood Builders leadership training and unrestricted funding to develop an innovative new program model for beginning-level ESOL adult learners similar to the community college system, albeit at a much lower academic level. This will include fast-track courses that target skill development, teaching small group cohorts and providing mini-credentials to facilitate entry and advancement in the workplace.

Neighborhood Builders is currently marking its tenth year as the largest investment in nonprofit leadership development and organizational longevity. Through Neighborhood Builders, Bank of America has invested $160 million in 800 nonprofit organizations and provided training to 1,600 nonprofit leaders. Neighborhood Builders furthers the company’s broader philanthropic commitment to addressing core issues that are critical to the economic vitality of local economies, with a particular focus on low-and-moderate-income communities.

Organizations selected as Neighborhood Builders are recognized for their significant impact in addressing needs related to community development, basic human services or workforce development and education. The flexible funding allows nonprofits to build capacity. At the same time, leaders of the organizations learn about issues core to nonprofit sustainability through the Neighborhood Builders leadership training.


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