Bank of America Names Union Mission as Neighborhood Champion in Recognition of Work to Advance Economic Mobility in Savannah

Staff Report

Friday, November 20th, 2020

Bank of America today announced Union Mission as a Neighborhood Champion, a recognition that includes both grant funding and leadership training. The Neighborhood Champions program supports the role strong nonprofit leaders play in advancing economic mobility and is an extension of the bank’s signature philanthropic initiative, Neighborhood Builders®, the largest corporate philanthropic investment in nonprofit leadership in the country. Alongside Savannah, the bank will bring the program to over 40 additional communities across the U.S. this fall as part of its commitment to investing in the long-term health of communities. 

As part of the program, Union Mission will receive $50,000 in grant support and an opportunity for engagement in virtual leadership training delivered by experts in the nonprofit sector. Union Mission was selected for their outstanding efforts to help vulnerable citizens in the Savannah community, serving the homeless and those at-risk for homelessness, providing transitional and permanent supportive housing, mental/behavioral health counseling, and job training services. Bank of America also partners with Union Mission to provide support through volunteer efforts, such as Better Money Habits financial literacy training and local board leadership. 

“As we consider many of the challenges that our communities are facing – from the health and humanitarian crisis brought on by the coronavirus to the need for progress on racial equality and economic opportunity – the Neighborhood Champions program is a relevant and timely initiative to support the communities we serve,” said Patrick O’Neil, Savannah market president for Bank of America. “This program enables partners like Union Mission to plan strategically for growth and long-term sustainability, and we look forward to seeing how this investment helps Union Mission make even greater strides to end homelessness through housing and supportive services throughout the Savannah area.” 

Applications for the Neighborhood Champions program are by invitation-only for nonprofits 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. Examples of the topics for the virtual leadership training awarded include human capital management, increasing financial sustainability and storytelling.

“Our vision for the future of Union Mission includes expanding the service capabilities of the organization to meet the challenges of our community, maintaining its financial stability and simultaneously building the organization's future leaders,” said Patricia Youngquist, executive director for Union Mission. “Union Mission's current leadership team and staff are more than capable of serving the needs of Savannah's homeless population. As with any nonprofit, we do so with a very lean budget. This additional funding for leadership development will allow us to provide our leaders with additional resources to serve the community.”

The funds from Bank of America will directly support Union Mission's mental health services program to provide bandwidth and sustainability – a necessity as mental health counseling continues to grow. The counseling program of Union Mission provides comprehensive, community-based behavioral health care to the uninsured as well as underinsured, and people who may not otherwise have access to mental health counseling. 

Since the program’s inception last year, Bank of America has invested $4.2 million in 84 organizations within 42 communities through the Neighborhood Champions program. The Neighborhood Champions program in Savannah will strengthen the bank’s commitment to advancing economic mobility and nonprofit leadership. 

Recent Bank of America announcements focused on advancing economic mobility include: