Bank of America’s Wendy Stewart.
By Maria Saporta – Contributing Writer, Atlanta Business Chronicle
Two Atlanta nonprofits are celebrating being named the 2018 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders grant recipients.
Quest Community Development Organization and Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs will each receive $200,000 — a $400,000 investment from Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) to increase affordable housing and generate jobs.
It marks the 15th anniversary of the Neighborhood Builders program, which has invested a total of $5.6 million among 28 different Atlanta organizations.
The nonprofits were selected for their work to tackle issues vital to increasing economic mobility in metro Atlanta.
In addition to the $200,000 grant, each organization will receive a year of leadership training for its executive director and an additional emerging leader. Awardees join a network of peer organizations across the United States gaining opportunities to access capital to expand their impact.
“For 15 years, Neighborhood Builders has supported our nonprofit partners in creating more sustainable communities,” said Wendy Stewart, Atlanta market president of Bank of America. “Quest CDO and ACE build vital pathways out of the cycle of poverty by boosting access to affordable housing and small business ownership. By helping these organizations flourish, we’re advancing economic mobility and strengthening the overall economic health of Atlanta.”
Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) is the only Georgia-based community development financial institution serving Atlanta small businesses. The organization helps underserved borrowers, particularly women, African- and Latino-Americans gain access to capital to start and grow businesses. Since 2000, the organization has provided $56 million in small business loans to 850 businesses, helping create or retain 7,300 jobs.
“Bank of America’s training investment comes at a critical time for ACE as we evolve our leadership and expand our mission,” said Grace Fricks, president and CEO of ACE. “Funding will help us meet increasing demands for capital from people eager to do more in their neighborhoods through the power of small businesses. We expect to increase the number and value of loans to maximize our clients’ community impact as job creators.”
Quest CDO develops affordable housing and provides needs-based social and financial services to enhance the quality of life for underserved individuals and families and reduce barriers to economic mobility.
Started in 2001, the organization focuses on Atlanta’s Westside, emphasizing the Vine City and English Avenue neighborhoods. Quest owns and operates 216 affordable housing units serving those with the greatest needs. Quest's supportive housing model acts as a vehicle for anti-displacement and legacy resident stabilization in the Westside communities.
“Bank of America’s support will allow us to accelerate our work to restore communities destabilized by historic non-managed development multipliers,” said Leonard Adams, president and CEO of Quest. “By alleviating blight and building affordable housing, we’ll help retain legacy and attract new residents looking to reside in a community of choice full of resources and equitable opportunities.”
Nationally since 2004, Bank of America has invested more than $220 million in 49 communities through Neighborhood Builders, partnering with more than 1,000 nonprofits and helping more than 2,000 nonprofit leaders strengthen their leadership skills.