New Bank of America Program Provides $50,000 to ECHO
El Camino Homeless Organization Named as the first Bank of America Neighborhood Champion for its Work to Reduce Homelessness
New Program Provides $50,000 and Access to Virtual Leadership Training
San Luis Obispo, Calif. — Bank of America today announced the launch of its Neighborhood Champions program in San Luis Obispo, an invitation-only program for high impact local nonprofits who are poised to take their work to the next level. El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO) was selected as the inaugural awardee. As part of the new program, ECHO will receive a $50,000 grant and an opportunity to participate in virtual leadership training on topics ranging from human capital to financial sustainability by experts in the nonprofit sector. According to the most recent San Luis Obispo County biannual point-in-time census, the homeless count has increased by nearly one-third since last January, with 1,483 people experiencing homelessness. Only 21 percent of the homeless are sheltered, meaning they live in an emergency shelter or transitional housing. The remainder live on the street, in vehicles, in encampment areas and in abandoned buildings. As one of only two permanent homeless shelters in the county, ECHO works to reverse this alarming trend by providing transitional and emergency shelter beds, hot meals, showers, and supportive services. It also works with clients to eliminate the barriers to maintaining stable housing such as repairing credit, applying for benefits, obtaining medical treatment, connecting to community resources and finding permanent housing. Echo will use the Neighborhood Champion funds to add staffing capacity as it transitions to a 24/7 facility, additional beds, a culinary workforce career program and community outreach services. “ECHO’s comprehensive approach to addressing homelessness and moving people onto a path of stability is an effective tool in helping combat homelessness in our community,” said Greg Bland, San Luis Obispo market president, Bank of America. “Their management team has worked tirelessly to build relationships with the community, and we are excited to provide additional leadership training and funding to help them manage and sustain long term growth.” “ECHO is extremely grateful to Bank of America and their team for choosing us as the first Neighborhood Champion,” said Wendy Lewis, President and CEO, ECHO. “This incredible gift arrived at the perfect time to help us expand our services at ECHO and in a new second shelter in Paso Robles. Our team will more than double over the next couple years, so the leadership training will be key to growing our team’s skills and knowledge." 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.