Program Provides $200,000 in Flexible Funding to Each Organization and Leadership Development Training to Advance Economic Mobility in the East Bay 

SAN FRANCISCO – Nonprofit programs that invest in small businesses and advance Latina economic empowerment will soon reach more people through a multiyear grant from Bank of America. Pacific Community Ventures and Prospera have been named as the 2021 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® awardees for their work in the East Bay and Greater Bay Area community addressing these issues. 

As a Neighborhood Builder, each organization receives a $200,000 grant over two years, comprehensive leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader on topics ranging from increasing financial sustainability, human capital management, and strategic storytelling, joins a network of peer organizations across the U.S., and gets the opportunity to access capital to expand their impact. The program continues to be the nation’s largest investment into nonprofit leadership development. 

“As communities continue to recover and navigate a changing landscape, nonprofits are still experiencing significant demands and are in need of resources to help meet critical local needs like supporting BIPOC and Latina entrepreneurs, creating jobs, and further extending leadership opportunities to all women,” said Gioia McCarthy, president, Bank of America San Francisco – East Bay. “Pacific Community Ventures and Prospera are helping bridge important gaps to help people chart a path toward economic opportunity and success. Programs like Neighborhood Builders help these organizations grow sustainably and strategically for greater positive impact in the community.”

Oakland-based Pacific Community Ventures (PCV), a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), invests in small businesses that have been most excluded from the traditional financial system and most SBA programs. Through September 2021, 84% of PCV’s loan capital has gone to women and/or BIPOC-owned businesses, and 85% has gone to small businesses located in economically distressed neighborhoods. 

“When the pandemic hit, we saw demand for our capital leap almost 10,000 percent, with loan inquiries totaling $172 million,” said Bulbul Gupta, PCV President and Chief Executive Officer. “The Neighborhood Builders grant will allow us to continue reaching underserved entrepreneurs who are facing the end of the PPP, and most grants programs, to shape a more inclusive recovery ahead. We’re thankful to be a Bank of America Neighborhood Builders partner.”

PCV will use its Neighborhood Builders funding to support its mission, including the launch of its new Oakland Restorative Loan Fund — $2.5 million in no-fee, zero-interest micro and small business loans. This special program combines impact capital from investors alongside grant support from philanthropic funders like Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders program. This fund can help combat gentrification and displacement, and support business owners as state and federal grant programs begin to end, with PCV’s unique model of pairing all restorative capital with free business advising to support their leadership, and micro grants for job quality improvement.

For its part, Prospera, also located in Oakland, works with Latina immigrant women who strive to achieve economic prosperity through cooperative business ownership and leadership. Latina entrepreneurs are commonly excluded from mainstream business development opportunities due to language, class, or immigration status barriers, further hampering their ability to obtain the resources and capital they need. As the only organization in the United States providing cooperative business development and leadership incubation in Spanish for Latinas, Prospera promotes entrepreneurship as a powerful vehicle for personal transformation, economic empowerment, and social change. 

Prospera will use its Neighborhood Builders grant toward strengthening its core capacity to engage a minimum of 300 women in networking and education activities, to train 150 women with our initial course Explora, and provide technical assistance to 10-15 of the most advanced business founders in its incubation program. Prospera also will be hiring additional staff and bolstering its business education and development programs to support its team of culturally fluent consultants who assist entrepreneurs.

“Over our nearly 30-year history, we’ve developed an effective model to address the barriers to wealth and well-being faced by our community’s Latina immigrant women,” said Claudia Arroyo, Prospera’s executive director. “This wonderful opportunity through the Neighborhood Builders program allows Prospera to deepen and grow our programs while expanding our team.”

The invitation-only Neighborhood Builders program is highly competitive, and leading members of the community participated in a collaborative selection process to identify this year’s awardees. 

Since 2004, Bank of America has invested over $10.4 million into San Francisco – East Bay nonprofits through the Neighborhood Builders program. Nationally, the bank directed $280 million across the U.S. to more than 1,400 nonprofits and helped more than 2,800 nonprofit leaders strengthen their leadership skills since the program began in 2004. 

Bank of America

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Prospera partners with Latina entrepreneurs to launch businesses that foster cooperation, economic independence and well-being in immigrant communities. Through our culturally-based programs, Latinas access the networks, tools and capital they need to become successful business owners and powerful community leaders. We envision a vibrant ecosystem of Latina-owned businesses cooperating to transform communities and local economies and building prosperity for the benefit of all.

Reporters may contact:

Janet Haney

BCW California Grassroots Team 

A partner of Bank of America Communications 



Maite Gasco 


Development and Communications Director 



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