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Neighborhood Builder awards will help scale programs addressing systemic challenges to sustainable employment and displacement

The Unity Council (TUC) was awarded the 2018 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® award for our work serving individuals struggling with employment, homelessness and the high cost of living in gentrifying communities. As part of the award, the largest philanthropic investment into nonprofit leadership development in the nation, TUC will receive $200,000 in unrestricted grant funding to expand programs with at-risk populations.

While the greater Bay Area is experiencing unprecedented growth, the economic boom has also had an unfortunate impact on many hyperlocal neighborhoods, lower income households and small businesses experiencing displacement due to rising costs of living, evolving job skill requirements and overall gentrification. The Bay Area has also seen a corresponding rise in homelessness with an estimated 13,000 homeless people in San Francisco and Alameda Counties. These factors coupled with some of the nation’s highest housing costs – market rate rents in Oakland, alone, have increased at more than twice the rate of incomes over the past ten years, for example – puts additional stress on individuals and families struggling to make ends meet.

The Unity Council stresses comprehensive solutions, rather than quick fixes – ranging from job training and career counseling to wraparound services – to help people find and maintain stable employment and housing.

“As the cost of living skyrockets and the job market becomes even more specialized, we need to find ways for all residents to be able to continue calling the San Francisco-East Bay ‘home’ and not get displaced. The Unity Council and Episcopal Community Services are helping vulnerable people attain stability and success through sustainable careers, education, and the preservation of affordable housing,” said Gioia McCarthy, Bank of America market president for the San Francisco–East Bay. “The Neighborhood Builders program will help scale their important work on behalf of even more individuals, families, and neighborhoods that make our communities so vibrant and unique.”

“The Unity Council is in a battle right now, fighting against the displacement of historic communities of color from their long-time neighborhoods. We thank Bank of America for standing with us in our efforts to create effective, comprehensive solutions for fighting poverty and growing thriving communities,” said Chris Iglesias, CEO of The Unity Council. “We can only win this fight by addressing the needs of our community on an individual, family, and neighborhood level.”

As a Neighborhood Builder awardee, The Unity Council will also receive a year of leadership training for their Executive Director and an emerging leader at the organization, access to a network of peer organizations across the U.S., and the opportunity to access additional capital to expand their impact.

Over the course of Neighborhood Builders’ 15 years, Bank of America has partnered with 47 nonprofits in the San Francisco-East Bay, investing $9.4 million to help address issues fundamental to improving economic mobility for individuals and families.

Bank of America

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