Funding addresses needs related to health, jobs, affordable housing and small business
November 30, 2021
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Today, in observance of Native American Heritage Month in the U.S., Bank of America announced that it has directed $345,000 to support Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment (COPE), the American Indian Graduate Center, and the New Mexico Foundation’s Native American Recovery Fund. These nonprofit and tribal partners are working to address critical needs in the state’s Native American communities.
Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment (COPE) partners with health care teams and community advocates to develop programs that address structural barriers to good health, respond to the burden of disease, and bridge gaps in the health care system identified by providers, patients, and families. COPE will use the funds to support general operations and activities on the Navajo Nation as well as reach more families through its Navajo Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, which provides families with educational resources and vouchers to buy fruits and vegetables. The funds will also provide infrastructure to support to small stores and growers who participate in this program and cover the certification fees for community health workers.
American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC) will use the support to help fund its scholarship program and support the next generation of Native leaders. The center prepares Native youth for college and helps them pay for and stay in college. A study from the Postsecondary National Policy Institute shows that Native Americans account for only 1% of the undergraduate population nationwide and only 16% of Native students earn a bachelor’s degree or higher. The funds will help AIGC develop resources to assist Native students with navigating and accessing financial support opportunities.
New Mexico Foundation received support for the Native American Recovery Fund Zone Grant which, with the help of local, regional, and national foundations, will support Native-led recovery projects in New Mexico.
“We established this fund in 2020 to help Native communities as they recover from the pandemic,” said JoAnn Melchor, President and CEO of the New Mexico Foundation. “The Native American Recovery Fund Zone Grant is working to provide funding, technical support and networking opportunities for community leaders in Nations, Pueblos and Tribes across New Mexico so that they have the capacity they need to complete projects that support their communities.”
This local funding is part of a $4.7 million total investment across the U.S. and Canada by Bank of America, which includes equity investments and philanthropic grants to nonprofits and institutions focused on meeting health, hunger, community development, workforce development, small business and entrepreneurship needs in Native American communities. These latest investments are part of the bank’s efforts to advance economic opportunity and racial equality through a $1.25 billion, five-year commitment. Since the start of the pandemic, Bank of America has directed more than $17 million to support Native American communities.
“As the state begins to look towards the future post-pandemic, it’s important to aid the organizations who help our residents the most,” said Paul Mondragón, President, Bank of America New Mexico. “As part of our longstanding focus on advancing economic opportunity in the communities we serve, we’re honored to invest in these organizations as they strengthen New Mexico’s Native communities through their programs and initiatives.”
Earlier this year, as part of its efforts to invest in the Native American community, Bank of America also awarded a grant to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque to help fund the Indian Pueblo Kitchen to Facilitate Career-Ready Natives program. This program was designed to assist Indigenous chefs in developing the skills and training necessary to find fulfilling, stable jobs.
The company also donated personal protection equipment (PPE) including over 500,000 masks, 174 cases of hand sanitizer, and 77,000 gloves to organizations across New Mexico including the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and Roadrunner Food Bank.
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