Thriving Communities Rely on Support for All Charitable Organizations
Mar 08, 2017
By Contributing Editor: Bill Tommins of Bank of America
Nonprofit organizations are the cornerstones of our communities. It’s important to create deep partnerships between corporations, private institutions and local nonprofits – not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because supporting these organizations helps build healthy economies, which is vital to sustainable growth.
Local nonprofit services and the needs they address are interrelated and interdependent. The key to building thriving communities is to support a range of nonprofits and causes. Healthy neighborhoods need good education and workforce development opportunities, food support for children and families that struggle with hunger, and shelter for the homeless. Just as no one person can do it all, our communities need the diverse support of many nonprofits to help all of our neighbors get ahead.
That’s why Bank of America has been the lead sponsor of Fairfield County’s Giving Day since its inception in 2014. A 24-hour online giving marathon, Fairfield County’s Giving Day raises money for more than 400 nonprofits in our community. These organizations’ services range from helping kids to find their next meal, to providing job training and education, to veterans who are transitioning from military to civilian life. Bank of America’s sponsorships and educational webinars for participating nonprofits provide fundraising and communications tools, as well as financial support.
Fairfield County’s Giving Day reflects the key to a healthy, thriving community: the willingness of all citizens to support the causes they care most about to ensure our neighborhoods have the resources they need.
At Bank of America we have taken this mission to heart when we consider where to volunteer, donate, and raise awareness. Here in Southern Connecticut, we are involved in a range of initiatives including workforce development and education, community development, and basic human needs. We work to strengthen the community through programs like Neighborhood Builders and Give a Meal, and the sponsorship of events such as the Rose of Hope Luncheon and the Closer to Free Ride.
Last year in Southern Connecticut, Bank of America granted approximately $1.3 million to area nonprofits and our employees volunteered more than 11,000 hours. Our nonprofit partners included the CT Food Bank, Person to Person, Bridgeport Rescue Mission and other local pantries and soup kitchens; Inspirica, New Reach and other emergency, transitional and affordable housing providers; Cardinal Shehan Center, local Boys & Girls Clubs and other after-school youth leadership programs; Building One Community (formerly NeighborsLink) Teach for America, Junior Achievement and area community colleges; the United Way, Habitat for Humanity and dozens more.
A recent example of our support of local nonprofits includes the recent Neighborhood Builder award to Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust (BNT), a nonprofit that has supported the Bridgeport community for 30 years. Through their home-ownership training and affordable housing redevelopment efforts, BNT has helped stabilize the community and economy while fostering resiliency in Bridgeport for decades. The Neighborhood Builder award includes leadership training for two staff members and $200,000 in flexible funding, which BNT will use to increase staff support and capacity.
We are lucky that Southern Connecticut is home to a vibrant nonprofit landscape, but we must all play a role in making our communities better for all residents. This includes corporate and private involvement in ensuring that these organizations have the resources they need to serve their communities. So mark Fairfield County’s Giving Day on your calendars and encourage your friends, family and coworkers to do the same, and pick out an organization (or a few!) to donate to as part of this powerful day.
William (Bill) Tommins
Bank of America Market President, Southern CT
Bill Tommins is the Market Executive for Global Commercial Banking in the Southern New England/Westchester Region of Bank of America, and serves as Market President in Southern Connecticut. Bill serves as the senior leader for the company’s civic, community, and philanthropic presence in the market, and leads integrated delivery of the company’s core capabilities to clients. Bill has 30 years of experience in the banking industry, and is active in community affairs, having served on boards of numerous local civic and business organizations, including present service on the board of Catholic Charities of Fairfield County.