WOONSOCKET â€” Bank of America has honored Connecting for Children and Families with a $200,000 grant to grow its network of support services for struggling families.
Terese Curtin, director of the Fairmount-based agency, was to receive the award today during a ceremony at the John Hope Settlement House in Providence, one of just two non-profits in the state to receive BofA's prestigious â€śNeighborhood Buildersâ€ť Award.
â€śIt's just a tremendous opportunity for Woonsocket,â€ť said Curtin. â€śIt allows us to strengthen the community and provide additional support for families who are in most need.â€ť
The award comes from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, which considered applications from 75 contenders for the 2010 Neighborhood Builders program, said William F. Hatfield, president of Bank of America for the Rhode Island market.
â€śWe're very pleased that a Woonsocket organization is one of our winners this year,â€ť said Hatfield. â€śAs you can see, with just two winners, it becomes a very competitive process.â€ť
The award marks the first time a Woonsocket agency has won since Bank of America brought the Neighborhood Builders program to Rhode Island in 2007, when the recipient was Neighborworks Blackstone River Valley.
The other Neighborhood Builders grant recipient this year is The Genesis Center of Providence, an adult education agency.
Hatfield said the winners may use the grant however they believe it will do the most good. In addition to the infusion of cash, Bank of America will treat the executive directors of the agencies to a weeklong, out-of-state leadership training seminar in the near future.
Curtin said a portion of the grant will be used to engage the board of directors and staff in the development of a strategic plan for growing the agency. Other funds will be dedicated to leadership training.
Established in 1995 with a grant from the Rhode Island Foundation, one of the state's most prominent philanthropic groups, CCF now has 35 full- and part-time employees working out of the onetime Hope Street School. The agency maintains more than a half-dozen programs that disadvantaged families have come to rely on, including supportive services for new parents, supplementary educational programs for children struggling in school and child safety programs.
CCF also helps economically distressed families get through the tough times with emergency assistance for food, clothing and utility bills, said Curtin.
â€śUsually, we help about 2,000 families a year, but the numbers for emergency basic needs keeps going up,â€ť she said. â€śI think we'll be at 2,500 or 3,000 this year.â€ť
The Neighborhood Builders is actually one of three categories of awards that BofA announces each year at the same time under the umbrella of its Neighborhood Excellence Initiative. The program, which also recognizes local heroes and student leaders, has doled out $1.8 million in grants and stipends during the last four years, the bank said in a statement.
A Lincoln resident, Julia Harvey, was among this year's crop of five student leaders, individuals the bank describes as â€śexemplary teens with a passion for improving their communities.â€ť
Winners participated in paid internships with non-profit, child-centered organizations this summer and later gathered in Washington, D.C., for a weeklong conference on how public service creates â€śpositive changeâ€ť in communities, BofA said.
A recent graduate of LaSalle Academy, Harvey served the eight-week internship at the Boys & Girls Club of Providence at Fox Point.