After experiencing 2020, a year that impacted communities in so many ways, Alberto Garofalo, New Jersey market president for Bank of America, announced Trenton’s own Millhill Child and Family Development Corp., along with Norwescap of Northwest NJ, as the 2020 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders awardees for New Jersey. Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders program, which financially supports the advancement of non-profit organizations working towards economic mobility and social growth, has been around since 2004.

“As we consider many of the challenges that our community is facing — from the health and humanitarian crisis brought on by the coronavirus, to the need for progress on racial equality and economic opportunity — the Neighborhood Builders program is a relevant and timely initiative to support the communities we serve,” said Garofalo.

Bank of America officials consider the Neighborhood Builders program an opportunity to provide relevant skills development and topics to help nonprofit leaders address current and future community challenges. Each year, Bank of America refines the Neighborhood Builders Leadership Program to include topics such as strategic storytelling, human capital management. Each theme highlighted are critical to moving the nonprofit sector forward within broader societal and economic context.

The invitation-only program is highly competitive. Through its Neighborhood Builders program, Bank of America has partnered with 34 nonprofits in New Jersey, investing $6.8 million to provide financial education and economic mobility opportunities within the New Jersey area since its inception.

“Our signature Neighborhood Builders program enables partners like Millhill Child and Family Development and Norwescap to plan strategically for growth and long-term sustainability, and we look forward to seeing how this investment helps them make even greater strides to expand mental health services and create economic opportunity for underserved communities.”

Both nonprofits were selected for their work in the state to address issues fundamental to economic mobility. Specifically, the organizations worked towards empowering children and families through individualized, culturally sensitive educational and behavioral health services and strengthened communities by creating opportunities for low-income individuals and families.

As an awardee, each organization will recieve a $200,000 grant, a year of leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader, a network of peer organizations across the U.S. and the opportunity to access further capital to expand their organizational impact.

Millhill Child and Family Development Corp. was established in 1971 as a nonprofit organization serving abused and neglected children in Trenton. Today, its mission is to empower children, youth and families through individualized and culturally sensitive educational, youth engagement, family support and behavioral health services.

Executive Director Cynthia Oberkofler of Millhill Child and Family Development Corp. said the honor will help her organization expand its mental health program, which has experienced increased demand since the rise of the pandemic.

“Mental health is a top priority for us, as we continue to see individuals in our community struggling with anxiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges of meeting basic needs,” she said. “Over the past two years, Bank of America has been a powerful partner that has gone beyond writing a check to help us provide high-quality mental health resources to our community.”

With the support of Bank of America and the Neighborhood Builders program, both organizations are looking to advance their initiatives even further into the 2021 year.