[Editor's Note: This announcement was originally published on Dec. 20.]
Two Fairfield County nonprofits and ten Fairfield County residents were recently honored by Bank of America through the company’s signature philanthropic program, the Neighborhood Excellence Initiative®.community-based organizations, local heroes and student leaders working to improve their communities.
Wakeman Memorial Association and Mercy Learning Center were recognized as Neighborhood Builders® for their demonstrated commitment to improving communities. Each organization will receive a $200,000 unrestricted grant, and leadership training for a senior executive and an emerging leader.
Southport-based Wakeman Memorial Association provides one-on-one mentoring, tutoring and access to more than 100 enrichment programs for Fairfield County youth.
Mercy Learning Center of Bridgeport provides basic literacy and life skills training to low-income women, including English as a Second Language, Adult Basic Education, and General Educational Development preparation. Mercy Learning Center also provides access to the National External Diploma Program, learning specialists, educational childcare programs, social services departments, career/college counseling services and food assistance programs.
In addition, five Local Heroes and five Student Leaders® were recognized. Local Heroes were selected for their commitment to the highest standards of community service, and were able to direct a $5,000 grant to the nonprofit of their choice. The awardees, and their selected nonprofit:
- Walter E. Luckett, Jr. – Justice Education Center
- Katherine Y. Moran – Connecticut Food Bank
- Wiley Mullins – Bridgeport Public Education Fund
- Joan Waldie – HomeFront Inc.
- Jim Ziolkowski – buildOn
Student Leaders, who were announced earlier this year, participated in a leadership summit in Washington, DC and a paid internship with a local nonprofit/charitable organization:
- David Engel, a Stamford resident and senior at Westhill High School
- Ashely Legister, a Bridgeport resident and senior at Central Magnet High School
- Isaiah Mohammed, a Norwalk resident and senior at Academy of Information Technology and Engineering
- Jayant Rao, a Stamford resident and senior at Stamford High School
- Samantha Sye, a Stamford resident and senior at Stamford High School
“The Neighborhood Excellence Initiative honors community leaders who are doing outstanding work to improve the lives of others,” said William R. Tommins, Fairfield County president, Bank of America. “This program underscores Bank of America’s long-term commitment to our communities, and our support of those who are working tirelessly to make Fairfield County a better place.”
In total, Bank of America contributed more than $450,000 in 2011 to Fairfield County nonprofits and individuals through this initiative. Since the Neighborhood Excellence Initiative’s inception in 2004, the bank has contributed more than $2.25 million through the program in Fairfield County.