Bank of America Names Youth On Their Own as 2020 Neighborhood Champion

Michelle Lomas, Gordon C. James, Public Relations

Youth On Their Own (YOTO) has been named as the 2020 Bank of America Neighborhood Champion for Tucson. The Neighborhood Champions program is an extension of the bank’s signature philanthropic initiative, Neighborhood Builders, the largest corporate philanthropic investment in nonprofit leadership in the country. YOTO was selected for its work in the Tucson community to address issues fundamental to economic mobility, specifically by supporting youth experiencing homelessness in graduating high school and finding continued success afterwards.

As part of the program, the organization will receive a $50,000 grant and an opportunity for engagement in virtual leadership training by nonprofit sector experts on topics ranging from human capital management and financial sustainability to storytelling.

“As we consider many of the challenges that our community is facing—from the health crisis brought on by the coronavirus to the need for progress on racial equality and economic opportunity—the Neighborhood Champions program is a relevant and timely initiative to support the communities we serve,” said Adriana Kong Romero, Tucson market president, Bank of America. “Youth On Their Own has 34 years of demonstrated success in helping Southern Arizona’s homeless and unaccompanied students stay in school and graduate, and this investment will help them make an even greater impact on the lives of homeless youth.”

YOTO provides youth experiencing homelessness in Pima County with the resources and support they need to graduate from high school and become self-sufficient, contributing citizens. In fact, the graduation rate among YOTO youth is 84%, which is 5% higher than the Arizona state average of 79%. Participants receive accountability-based financial assistance, basic needs support, and one-on-one guidance ranging from referrals for unmet needs to academic support.

“A high school diploma is a critical step towards economic self-sufficiency, higher education, and increasing income and assets potential. In 2018, the unemployment rate for those without a high school diploma was 3.5 times greater than the general population,” said Elizabeth Slater, chief executive officer, Youth On Their Own. “Our mission is critical in Southern Arizona, and this investment from Bank of America will provide the funds needed to increase the breadth and quality of Youth On Their Own’s service delivery.”

Since the program’s inception last year, Bank of America has invested $4.2 million in 84 organizations within 42 communities through the Neighborhood Champions program. The Neighborhood Champions program is invitation-only for nonprofits who are poised to take their work to the next level. Leading members of the community participated in a collaborative selection process to identify this year’s awardee.

Youth On Their Own

Youth On Their Own (YOTO) supports the high school graduation and continued success of youth experiencing homelessness in Pima County. Since its founding in 1986, YOTO has helped thousands of local youth stay in school, graduate, and become productive members of our community. For more information about YOTO and how you can become part of the YOTO Family, visit

Bank of America

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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