Phoenix Business Journal

Phoenix Business Journal

Bank of America gives grants to 27 nonprofits serving Arizona children in poverty

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Bank of America gives grants to 27 nonprofits serving Arizona children in poverty – Phoenix Business Journal 1/2 A representative for Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix and Bank of America are with teens accepting grant awards. (Photo by Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix) From the Phoenix Business Journal:

Bank of America gives grants to 27 nonprofits serving Arizona children in poverty Jun 30, 2018, 12:49pm MST Bank of America again dipped into nonprofit giving this year, offering up $750,000 in grants to 27 local nonprofits, many of which deal with shelter, food and children’s services.

“These grants that we provide are geared toward wrap-around services to help remove these barriers that keep people from achieving economic stability,” said Scott Vanderpool, a local marketing executive for Bank of America.

The announcement of BofA’s nonprofit giving comes the same week the Annie E. Casey Foundation released its 2018 Kids Count report show Arizona ranked 45th in the U.S. when it comes to children’s well-being. The report, which found that 24 percent of the state’s children live in poverty, shows Arizona lacking when it comes to services for children.

That ranking, and similar ones showing Arizona’s education system lacks what is needed for a future workforce, are often drivers for corporate giving.

Vanderpool said the annual BofA grants are part of the bank’s mission to improve financial lives of people living in poverty. This year’s giving was down slightly from last year, when BofA gave $775,000 to 34 local nonprofits.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix was among the organizations that received money. It is expanding its leadership in training program, or LIT, which helps teens land internships. Bank of America is offering 10 financial center internships.

“Thanks to Bank of America’s investment, we are developing the soft skills these teens need to secure and retain jobs outside the club and giving them real life experience to help ensure their success,” said Josh Stine, the group’s director of grants and government relations, via email.

The Kids Count report highlighted that many children have not benefited from the improving economy and a historically low unemployment rate.

Dana Wolfe Naimark, president and CEO of Children’s Action Alliance, an organization that lobbies on policy issues for children’s health, safety and wellbeing, said many families are still recovering from the 2008 financial crisis. She helped gather data for the report.

Vanderpool said Bank of America’s grants are meant to provide tools and skills for families.

“As we continue to look at these nonprofits, our goal is to help those families that have fallen on hard times. It’s really geared as prevention, but also to help people gain life skills that are essential to people.”

~Abdel Jimenez Editorial Intern Phoenix Business Journal


Don Pearson, Wells Fargo’s area President, and his commitment to Boys & Girls Clubs and the local community

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Executive Inc.: Don Pearson puts banking and volunteering at the top of his list (Video) – Phoenix Business Journal Executive Inc.: Banking and volunteering top Wells Fargo market president’s list(Video)

Coming up on his first anniversary as regional banking president for Wells Fargo’s Desert Mountain Region, Don Pearson said he and his family have settled in rather quickly.

“It feels good,” Pearson said. “It feels like home.”

Pearson said he remembers when he first got the offer from Wells Fargo to move to Arizona. He had three days to think about it. His wife, Beverly, has family in Arizona. She didn’t think twice, and encouraged him to take the job.

He’s been with Wells Fargo for 16 years and has worked all over the country, from San Diego to Iowa.

“When I think back about it, I went from San Diego, which has the best weather in the country to the most rainy state and then I moved to Iowa in January when it was 25 below,” he said. “Then I moved to Arizona in August, when it’s 100-something.”

As he and his family moved to different markets, they always maintained their involvement in the Boys & Girls Club.

His special needs stepdaughter has participated in Boys & Girls Clubs since the family was in California, so whenever they moved to a new city, they would reach out to the nonprofit to see how they could help, averaging 400 volunteer hours a year.

“I haven’t volunteered here as much as I historically have,” he said.

The ability to volunteer with nonprofits is something Pearson said he values about working with Wells Fargo.

“It’s just one of the things about this job that I absolutely love,” he said. “That connection through nonprofits. They are the heroes when you think about the people who dedicate their lives to nonprofits to help others. I’m fortunate to work for a company that has that as a priority, which is to engage the community an be part of it, be visible and help others.”

Every Wells Fargo team member is given 16 hours of vacation time to volunteer for a nonprofit.

Of Wells Fargo’s total $6.9 million investment to Arizona nonprofits during 2017, $3.1 million came from Arizona’s 15,000 employees. They volunteered 113,000 hours in 2017.

“We don’t tell them where to go,” he said. “Go where your passion is.”

Pearson has been in banking since he was 17 years old. He worked part time at a retail store until he had to work Christmas night.

His mom pointed out he might consider working at the local bank, where they have air conditioning and don’t have to work nights or weekends.

“I wasn’t old enough,” he said. “I still remember the manager was so kind. They hired me 90 days before I turned 18. I was in the stock room for 90 days before I became a teller.”

The banker’s hours were fantastic, he said, working from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“I look back and think what did those guy do when you think about those short hours,” he said. “Now I work Saturdays, and it’s not uncommon for me to work nights.”

Over the years, he moved his way up the corporate ladder but still has fond memories for his teller job.

“I loved the interactions with people,” he said. “The fundamentals are exactly the same from Day 1.”

Pearson was moved into this position after a series of scandals that involved Wells Fargo employees opening accounts for customers without their consent and charging inappropriate fees to certain customers.

“We have been very transparent about the changes we’ve made,” Pearson said. “At the end of the day, the job in itself is fairly simple. We focus on our customers. We focus on our team members. Our mission is to help our customers financially succeed and help our community succeed.”

Wells Fargo’s Desert Mountain Region includes the company’s banks in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. In Arizona, the bank is one of the three largest operating in the state.

Don Pearson

Title: Regional banking president, Desert Mountain Region

Company: Wells Fargo

Family: Wife, Beverly; blended family of five children and two grandchildren

Age: 61

Alarm clock set for: I wake up at 4:30 a.m. and I’m ready to go. I love to work, I love my job and I like coming to work every day.

How you celebrate life: I enjoy every day. I’m not overly serious about anything, and I try to balance it all.

Always in your refrigerator: Water, water and more water. I drink tons of water. And it’s not because I now live in the desert. I’ve always been like that. Oh, and iced tea sometimes.

Best advice received: Don’t take things for granted. You just never know. Assuming is a short cut and sometimes it’s way different than you thought.

~Angela Gonzales Senior Reporter Phoenix Business Journal