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Program Provides $400,000 in Flexible Funding and Leadership Skills Development Training to Advance Economic Mobility in Hartford

Hartford, Conn.Interval House, and TheaterWorks have been named as the 2020 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® awardees in Hartford. The nonprofits were selected for their work in the Greater Hartford community to address issues fundamental to economic mobility, specifically eradicating domestic violence and supporting local arts and theater programs that engage diverse communities.


As an awardee, each organization receives a $200,000 grant, a year of leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader, a network of peer organizations across the U.S., and the opportunity to access capital to expand their impact. Since 2004, Bank of America has invested over $260 million in 50 communities through Neighborhood Builders, partnering with more than 1,300 nonprofits and helping more than 2,600 nonprofit leaders strengthen their leadership skills.


“Interval House and TheaterWorks are outstanding organizations and I couldn’t be more thrilled to recognize both with the 2020 Neighborhood Builders award,” said Joe Gianni, Bank of America market president for Greater Hartford. “The combination of unrestricted funding and leadership training makes this award unique, and it is my hope that it will give both leaders, Mary-Jane Foster and Rob Ruggiero, the power to tackle the unprecedented challenges presented by the Coronavirus, dream big, and make connections that lead to new opportunities”.


The Neighborhood Builders program is an opportunity to provide relevant skills development and topics to help nonprofit leaders address current and future community challenges. Each year, Bank of America refines the Neighborhood Builders Leadership Program to include topics ranging from strategic storytelling to human capital management, and highlights themes that are critical to moving the nonprofit sector forward within broader societal and economic context.


Founded 43 years ago, Interval House aims to prevent and end the cycle of domestic violence and to keep their clients safe. During the health crisis, Interval House has focused on meeting the basic needs of clients, particularly with food insecurity and housing. Interval House has also faced unparalleled challenges to operations and resources as intimate partner violence escalated due to the state’s stay-at-home orders. The Neighborhood Builders funding will help Interval House serve over 6,500 individuals with safe housing, food, utilities, and legal fees, in addition to organization operational and administrative needs.


“Bank of America has been a long-term partner of Interval House and their commitment to our mission has been integral before and during the coronavirus,” said Mary-Jane Foster, President and CEO of Interval House. “Domestic violence has unfortunately increased during the health crisis, and Bank of America stepped in early on to help us continue serving vulnerable residents. We are grateful to be selected as their 2020 Neighborhood Builder.”


Since 1985, TheaterWorks has staged contemporary theater  productions to engage diverse communities and bring people together in Greater Hartford. Before the coronavirus, TheaterWorks presented 225 performances per season that addressed social and cultural issues. Once the state shut down, the theater lost nearly 60% of its earned annual income. As social distancing has limited theater capacity, Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders partnership comes at a critical time as the funds will be used to enhance technical abilities and support new platforms for performance.


The coronavirus has deeply impacted the theater industry and as we recover, Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builder funding will allow TheaterWorks to respond to the community’s need for engagement, entertainment, and most importantly connection,” said Rob Ruggiero, Producing Artistic Director of TheaterWorks Hartford. “Bank of America is a longstanding partner of the arts providing investment in our work and in building strong communities. We couldn’t be more honored to be selected as a Neighborhood Builder.”


Since the program’s inception in 2004, Bank of America has partnered with 27 nonprofits in Greater Hartford, investing over $5.4M. The invitation-only program is highly competitive, and every year, the local selection committee is made up of diverse members of the community. Neighborhood Builders is just one example of how Bank of America deploys capital in communities, builds cross-sector partnerships, and promotes socioeconomic progress as part of its approach to responsible growth.


Recent Bank of America announcements focused on advancing economic mobility include:



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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. Learn more at, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).


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