Two Kansas City nonprofits are expected to receive hefty, multi-year grants from one of the nation’s banking giants — focusing on direct funding and leadership development — including a social enterprise that uses dog grooming to improve parents’ quality of life.
Bank of America on Tuesday announced Pawsperity, formerly The Grooming Project, as one of two “Neighborhood Builders” awarded $200,000 in flexible funding over two years, along with comprehensive leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader on topics ranging from increasing financial sustainability, human capital management and strategic storytelling.
“Through the bank’s support, our initiative will help change the lives of many who may feel their future isn’t certain as well improve their life through our resources to help them succeed,” said Natasha Kirsch, CEO, Pawsperity.
Pawsperity, which recently completed the inaugural LaunchKC Social Venture Studio, is a full-time training program providing struggling parents working toward a livable wage an opportunity to learn a professional trade in pet grooming. Through a structured and supportive 12 to 24-month program, 100 percent of graduates are employed within six months of graduation, earning an average of nearly $24 per hour.
The grant funding is expected to help Pawsperity strengthen overall capacity and build its training program. It will also increase opportunity through a national expansion program for job training, especially for low-income parents.
Click here to read about one of Pawsperity’s past success stories.
A second grant winner, El Centro, also was announced Tuesday. The organization aims to strengthen communities and improve the lives of Latinos and others through educational, social, and economic opportunities.
Its grant funding will enable expanding services and increase opportunity for more workers to gain additional skills, education, and programming that will qualify them for higher paying jobs, increase business owner’s skills, training for environmental certification, prepare and stabilize childcare.
“Nonprofits such as El Centro and Pawsperity are the backbone of our community, working to understand obstacles individuals and families experience and develop programs to break down barriers to economic mobility,” said Matt Linski, president of Bank of America Kansas City.
The winners also join a network of peer organizations across the U.S. and get the opportunity to access capital to expand their impact. The program continues to be the nation’s largest investment into nonprofit leadership development.
In Kansas City, 31 nonprofits have been selected as Neighborhood Builders since 2004, and received $6.2 million in funding from Bank of America.
The invitation-only program is highly competitive, and organizations are selected by a committee of community leaders and past Neighborhood Builders honorees.
Through 2021, Bank of America has invested more than $280 million in 50 communities through Neighborhood Builders, partnering with more than 1,400 nonprofits and helping more than 2,800 nonprofit leaders strengthen their leadership skills.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.