Live & Learn and Fresh Start Women’s Foundation have been named Bank of America’s 2021 Neighborhood Builders for their efforts to improve women’s personal and financial empowerment.

The highly competitive, invitation-only grant awards $200,000 to local organizations to expand their impact by covering leadership training for the organizations’ leadership. The program is America’s largest investment in nonprofit leadership development.

Since 2003, Bank of America has invested $6.8 million in 36 Phoenix-area nonprofits, through the Neighborhood Builder program. Through the program, Bank of America has invested more than $280 million in over 1,400 nonprofits in 50 communities nationwide.

Bank of America’s 2021 Phoenix-area awardees are both focused on empowering women in generational poverty in bettering their livelihoods and reducing their dependence on government programs.

Live & Learn Focused on helping women in Maricopa County break the cycle of generational poverty, Live & Learn provides women with a two-year program – individualized to each woman – to give them the stability, career, and self-sufficiency to end their dependence on government assistance. Each year, the program helps 150 women and there are currently over 450 on Live & Learn’s waitlist.

“Women living in poverty face complicated, systemic barriers to changing their circumstances and giving their children a better future. If we do not offer a viable opportunity for economic mobility, poverty only becomes more entrenched with each generation,” Live & Learn Executive Director Kristin Chatsworth said. “Bank of America’s funding will allow us to add to our staff, empower more women, and increase broader community awareness of the issues.”

Fresh Start Women’s Foundation Fresh Start Women’s Foundation has been helping women gain the resources, skills, and sustained behavior changes needed to attain and acquire economic independence.

By giving women economic and social stability, the nonprofit aims to give women the opportunity to pursue an education, which the group sees as crucial to economic mobility. “For many of the women we serve, the chronic stress of poverty day in and day out stifles their ability to effectively pursue education and employment opportunities, a limitation that ultimately leaves them and their children stuck in desperate circumstances,” said Fresh Start CEO and President Kim McWaters.

The organization was the first in Arizona to use Mobility Mentoring with Economic Mobility Pathways to help women disrupt intergenerational poverty.According to a press release, “Fresh Start will use the Neighborhood Builders grant to build capacity and expand their wrap-around services, supporting women on their journey to self-sufficiency, education and career advancement.”

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