Organization receives $50,000 in Grant Support and Virtual Leadership Training Opportunity

Bank of America announced Communities in Schools of Spokane County (CIS-Spokane) as the 2020 Neighborhood Champion recipient in Spokane, a recognition that includes both $50,000 in grant funding and virtual leadership training delivered by experts in the nonprofit sector. The Neighborhood Champions program supports the role strong nonprofit leaders play in advancing economic mobility and is an extension of the bank’s signature philanthropic initiative, Neighborhood Builders®, the largest corporate philanthropic investment in nonprofit leadership in the country. 

The ultimate focus of CIS-Spokane is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. The organization helps remove barriers to a student’s success by providing the resources they need to be successful in school and graduate on time. The support from Bank of America will allow CIS-Spokane provide leadership and advocacy training to staff and board members so they can continue addressing the mounting needs in Spokane County while expanding the number of schools and students they are able to reach.

“With schools shifting to at-home learning, our students are faced with even greater obstacles and challenges than ever before. Many of the students we served were already facing some level of trauma which has only grown during the pandemic,” said Chuck Teegarden, Executive Director Communities in Schools of Spokane County. “It is our profound duty at Communities in Schools of Spokane County to make sure no child is left behind. Being named a Bank of America Neighborhood Champion will not only allow us to continue supporting the future of Spokane but help us expand our reach and implement programs to address childhood trauma.”

CIS-Spokane will use the grant funding to give youth the skills to address the specific mental health challenges facing young people in our community. Support from the Neighborhood Champions grant will help the organization increase access to mentoring and peer support groups for students that have experienced trauma, especially as the pandemic and resulting quarantine has increased the need to foster resiliency, social and emotional competencies. The virtual leadership training will help train site coordinators to become more trauma informed and learn how to support and identify students that experience trauma.

“Even before the health and humanitarian crisis created by coronavirus, the Neighborhood Champions program provided relevant and timely support to nonprofits serving our community,” said Kurt Walsdorf, Bank of America Spokane market president. “This year, we recognize Communities in Schools of Spokane County as our champion for their outstanding work to address childhood trauma that has been exacerbated by being cut off from the structure and support systems our schools provide. Our funding and leadership training is intended to help them to increase their effectiveness and sustainability, while also healing wounds and filling in the gaps of student success.”

CIS-Spokane is also announcing their annual Blue Jean Ball fundraiser is scheduled as a live and virtual event on Saturday, February 20th at 5pm. Interested sponsors and attendees are invited to participate to help the organization reach their fundraising goals for 2021. INSERT LINK IF AVAILABLE

The Neighborhood Champions program is invitation-only for nonprofits who are poised to take their work to the next level. Leading members of the community participated in a collaborative selection process to identify this year’s awardee. Examples of the topics for the virtual leadership training awarded include human capital management, increasing financial sustainability, and storytelling.

Since the program’s inception last year, Bank of America has invested $4.2 million in 84 organizations within 42 communities through the Neighborhood Champions program. Christ Kitchen was the first organization in Spokane to receive the award in 2019.

Communities in Schools of Spokane County

CIS-Spokane works with various partners in the community to deliver resources to schools where children in non-pandemic periods spend most of their day. Staff at 16 school sites currently are making home deliveries of food, school supplies, hygiene supplies and other needs. During drive through food distributions alone, that same staff is serving between 600-800 families a week. CIS-Spokane has been providing online spaces for students to connect, if anxieties are identified they are quickly referred to counseling services. Due to the pandemic, many families in the community are facing increased challenges, which can lead to lasting impacts on young people.

Bank of America
At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).

For more Bank of America news, including dividend announcements and other important information, visit the Bank of America newsroom and register for email alerts.