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Housing Matters Named Bank of America’s 2023 Neighborhood Champion

Housing Matters Named Bank of America’s 2023 Neighborhood Champion

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Nonprofit Will Receive Multi-Year Grant and Leadership Training to Address Homelessness

Santa Cruz, Calif. –Bank of America announced Housing Matters as the 2023 Neighborhood Champion® awardee for their work advancing economic mobility and building up underserved neighborhoods in Santa Cruz County. Through a multi-year $50,000 grant and leadership training for its executive director and an emerging leader within its organization, Housing Matters’ programs and services will help more people experiencing homelessness gain stability.

The program is part of the bank’s Neighborhood Builders program, one of the largest philanthropic investments into nonprofit leadership development in the nation, with leadership training delivered by experts in the nonprofit sector on topics like human capital management, increasing financial sustainability, and storytelling. The invitation-only program is highly competitive, and honorees are selected by a committee comprised of community leaders and past awardees.

Santa Cruz County has seen a 21.5 percent drop in the homeless population - the lowest in more than a decade – Santa Cruz continues to have the most homeless people in California per capita. Helping to address this ongoing issue, Housing Matters began 37 years ago and today is the largest provider of services to those experiencing homelessness in Santa Cruz County, hosting 175 individuals on any given night in one of three emergency shelters, and another 350 individuals county-wide. It provides comprehensive case management at its shelters as well as to 350 individuals around Santa Cruz County, offering emergency shelter, day services such as showers and dental care, and personal coaching. They will use the Neighborhood Champion grant to expand its community engagement efforts. 

"Housing Matters is grateful to be recognized by Bank of America as a Neighborhood Champion,” said Mer Stafford, chief impact officer for Housing Matters.  “This generous gift will help move our community engagement efforts forward in Santa Cruz County to dispel myths and educate the public about solutions to homelessness - education is the key to growing a whole new generation of Neighborhood Champions!"

“Nonprofits are vital to solving social challenges, improving communities, and promoting economic advancement," said Jennifer Dacquisto, president, Bank of America Monterey Bay.  “Providing Housing Matters with flexible funding and leadership training not only positions them for sustainable, long-term success but demonstrates our commitment to creating real change in the places where we live and work.”

Since the Neighborhood Champions program was first offered in the Monterey Bay region in 2019, five high-impact local nonprofits have been selected, including Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County, Digital NEST, First Tee Monterey County, Rancho Cielo, and Housing Matter with the bank investing $250,000 into these community builders.


About Bank of America

Bank of America is one 6of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses, and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management, and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 68 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 3,900 retail financial centers, approximately 15,000 ATMs, and award-winning digital banking with approximately 56 million verified digital users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking, and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions, and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business households through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories, and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Monterey Area Media Contact – Esmeralda Owen

Mobile 213-220-1174.

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