Black Achievers, CityLink Center honored as ‘Neighborhood Builders’

Black Achievers and CityLink Center are recipients of this year’s Neighborhood Builders award.

The Cincinnati-based organizations received the recognition from Bank of America for their respective work to advance economic mobility and building up underserved neighborhoods. 

The Neighborhood Builders program provides comprehensive leadership training on topics ranging from increasing financial sustainability, human capital management and strategic storytelling. Each awardee also gets connected a national network of peer organizations.

Along with the title, each awardee wins $200,000 in funding. The two-year grant supports the training as well as programs and services focused on creating economic opportunities and community development.

A Black Achievers networking event at the Greater Cincinnati Foundation

Black Achievers is a networking organization with over 100,000 members nationwide. The goal of its founder, Michael Moore, is to build a network of Black professionals who can work together to make the world a better place for everyone to live.

Moore called the grant the largest in the history of the five-year-old organization. He believes the funding will have a huge impact on his nonprofit, which offers five different programs ranging from youth mentorship to board diversity.

Access to grants of this size is rare for smaller nonprofits, especially those founded by African Americans nonprofits, Moore said. Black Achievers is one of the few Black-founded and Black-led nonprofits in Cincinnati.

Black Achievers plans is to use the funding to increase staffing, implement new technology, produce marketing materials and train more volunteers, Moore said. He expects his organization to be able to double the number of people it serves in the next two years thanks to the grant.

“Our approach is unique because we teach people about self-reliance, we help them upskill and we help them build bridges with the broader community,” he said.

Michael Moore, founder of Black Achievers

CityLink Center aims to provide a one-stop shop for residents in need to receive access to a variety of wrap-around services. The organization plans to use its grant to increase client volume and client service capacity to match their new space at their recently expanded facility in Cincinnati’s West End neighborhood.

“As we seek to rebuild our community and provide a place of hope for our neighbors this grant can help us have flexible funding to meet the rapidly changing needs in our community,” said Johnmark Oudersluys, executive director of CityLink Center.

Johnmark Oudersluys, executive director of CityLink

The Neighborhood Builders program is one of the largest philanthropic investments into nonprofit leadership development in the United States. The invitation-only program is highly competitive. Nonprofits are selected by a committee composed of community leaders and past Builders awardees. 

In Cincinnati, 11 nonprofits have been selected as a Neighborhood Builder, with the bank investing over $1.4 million dollars into these local organizations through the program since 2018.

Since 2004, Bank of America has invested more than $300 million in nearly 100 communities across the U.S., partnered with more than 1,600 nonprofits, and helped more than 3,000 nonprofit leaders strengthen their leadership skills through the Neighborhood Builders and Champions program.

Mark Ryan, president of Bank of America Cincinnati, described nonprofits as being vital to solving social challenges, improving communities and promoting economic advancement.

“Providing these nonprofits with flexible funding and leadership training not only positions these nonprofits for sustainable, long-term success, but demonstrates our commitment to creating real change in the places where we live and work,” he added.

Bank of America Neighborhood Builders

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