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Bank of America grants $450,000 to O.C. nonprofits

Goodwill of Orange County, Second Harvest Food Bank garner $200,000 each.

By Kristen SchottPublished: November 17, 2010 09:34 AM

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation is honoring Goodwill of Orange County, the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County and 10 others with $450,000 in funding and leadership training.

The grants are part of the bank's Neighborhood Excellence Initiative, which spans 45 cities across the nation, and seeks to help nonprofits strengthen their long-term presence, increase their leadership, boost their staff, and extend the reach of the organizations' services.

Through the program, Santa Ana-based Goodwill of Orange County and Irvine-based Second Harvest Food Bank were named this year's Orange County Neighborhood Builders, and each will receive $200,000. Both organizations also will take part in the financial institution's Neighborhood Excellence Leadership Program, which includes other nonprofits from 44 communities throughout the U.S. – and in London.

Goodwill of Orange County provides individuals with disabilities the ability to attain their highest level of independence through job training, education and employment services. Second Harvest Food Bank feeds more than 220,000 underserved individuals throughout the county every month through its more than 450 partner agencies. Food is distributed through emergency grocery programs, soup kitchens and shelters, among other services.

“Through our Neighborhood Excellence Initiative, we are helping to generate meaningful and cumulative economic and social impact at the local level where it’s needed most,” said Greg Mech, Bank of America's Orange County market president.

In addition, the Neighborhood Excellence Initiative honors 10 other individuals as Local Heroes and Student Leaders.

 The Local Heroes are recognized for their volunteer contributions to the community, and each individual will receive a $5,000 grant to give to a nonprofit of their choosing.

The Student Leaders this summer participated in paid eight-week internships at local nonprofits and took part in a weeklong summit in Washington, D.C., which provided the participants with the tools and resources they need to continue contributing to their communities. Each individual will receive $5,000 for the internships.

Since the launch of the Neighborhood Excellence Initiative in Orange County in 2005, the bank has invested $2.7 million in area nonprofits.

"In Orange County and across the country," finished Mech, "we are leveraging the combined strength of our philanthropy and lending and investing initiatives to help set opportunity in motion for organizations, families, individuals and entire neighborhoods.”

Here's a look at this year's Local Heroes and Student Leaders:

Local Heroes:

• Nancy Caruso of Garden Grove will direct her grant to Get Inspired!
• June Glenn of Anaheim will direct her grant to Anaheim Arts Council.
• Richard Hunsaker of Newport Beach will direct his grant to HomeAid Orange County.
• Liam Kennedy of Irvine will direct his grant to Girls Inc.
• Rosalva Valasquez of San Clemente will direct her grant to O.C. Human Relations.

Student Leaders:

• Karen Islas of Garden Grove and a senior at Garden Grove High School, interned at Taller San Jose.
• Tim Littman of Mission Viejo and a senior at Trabuco Hills High School, interned at THINK Together.
• Patrick Mazuca of Tustin and a senior at Foothill High School, interned at Taller San Jose.
• Jamie Pham of Garden Grove and a senior at Garden Grove High School, interned at THINK Together.
• Kathy Phan of Anaheim and a senior at Magnolia High School, interned at THINK Together.

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