By Liv Drobny
Bank of America announced an award of $1 million to Riverside City College on Nov. 18 with the goal of creating a jobs initiative meant to support students of color in their career development.
“Bank of America is a good friend of the college,” RCC President Gregory Anderson said. “They all have significant community engagement parts. They really do care about the community.”
The Riverside Community College District has previously received grant money from Bank of America. In the summer of 2019, the bank awarded $25,000 to the district to address economic inequalities.
The new grant does not cover the entire district, but specifically benefits RCC. However, Bank of America has also donated almost $500,000 to other Inland Empire nonprofits.
According to a joint press release, this year’s grant money comes from a $25 million Bank of America national fund that “supports programming, re-skilling, and up-skilling for students of color.”
“(Guidelines for spending) are very much aligned with our mission to provide career opportunities in areas where they can make a living,” Anderson said. “We don’t have an interest in perpetuating poverty.”
He said that Bank of America trusts RCC to use the funds for the right things and attributed that trust to a positive relationship.
Anderson stressed that this grant is not just good for RCC students, but actually benefits the entire community. The grant will help students return to campus and improve their future job prospects, but will also create new local connections, he said.
“(The grant) will help with funding developing partnerships with employers,” Anderson said. “It is a step toward strengthening efforts for living-wage anti-poverty education.”
Al Argüello, Bank of America Inland Empire market president, called the initiative collaborative and emphasized the participatory role that Black and Latino students will play in positively affecting local communities.
Rusty Bailey, Riverside’s outgoing mayor, lauded the partnership as a recognition of the important role of Community Colleges and a revitalization of economic training.
The joint press release from RCC and Bank of America says the award will create programs resulting in new skill development, certificate programs and in-demand degrees, especially in the healthcare field.
They hope these initiatives will move students into careers that can support families.