Million-dollar Grant Will Provide Opportunities for Disadvantaged San Joaquin Valley Youth
MERCED, CA— Bank of America and UC Merced announced today the awarding of a $1 million Bank of America Charitable Foundation grant - the largest grant the bank has ever made in the San Joaquin Valley.
UC Merced will use the funds to establish an ongoing program to recruit, enroll and retain high-achieving, educationally disadvantaged students from the San Joaquin Valley in the new university's planned Ernest and Julio Gallo School of Management.
Also announced today were the names and hometowns of UC Merced's first class of “Bank of America Scholars” who will each receive a $1,000 scholarship under the new program:
- Christopher Abrescy, Winton
- Michelle Comer, Dos Palos
- Gabriel Diaz-Carrera, Hanford
- Ashley Eagleson, Fresno
- Leticia Garibay, Parlier
- Erica Gomez, Orosi
- Justin Lawson, Merced
- Christina Perez, Merced
- Chiew Saelee, Merced
- Linda Torralva, Fresno
- Claudia Zepeda, San Joaquin
The Bank of America Distinguished Management Scholars Program is aimed at creating opportunities for educationally disadvantaged students and helping them develop as future business leaders. The goal is to cultivate these future leaders to remain in the Valley and work toward improving the region's economic and social conditions. The San Joaquin Valley is one of the poorest regions in the United States, with 22% of its population living below the poverty line and an unemployment rate that is more than double the national rate. Forty percent of the Valley's residents are Latino, including more than half of those living below the poverty line.
Of the approximately 1,000 students who comprise UC Merced's inaugural class, about 30% reside in the San Joaquin Valley, 25% are from low-income households, and nearly half represent the first generation in their families to attend college.
“Our program is focused solely on students from the San Joaquin Valley, to help enable UC Merced to break down economic and social barriers and provide exciting new opportunities for deserving students,” Lynn Pike, President of Bank of America California, said. “We worked very closely with UC officials in designing the distinguished management scholars program because we wanted to make sure it would help the new campus achieve its mission of providing educational access and opportunities to underserved and low-income students in the Valley. We hope to really make a difference through the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, not just for the lives of the students in the program, but for people throughout the San Joaquin Valley.”
Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey said, “The scholars selected for this program will come from the Valley and, after graduation, will become leaders and professionals here. What a wonderful gift for both the students and the Valley.”
The Bank of America Distinguished Management Scholars Program has three components: a scholarship program to help defray the cost of college education for selected incoming freshmen; a summer bridge program on campus to help prepare participants for academic success at UC Merced; and an outreach and recruitment fund to encourage high-potential, low-income high school students to enter the program.
Scholarship recipients are designated “Bank of America Scholars.” They will be expected to return to their high schools at least once during their freshman year to introduce the program to the next class of graduating seniors and encourage promising students to apply. After they graduate, Bank of America Scholars will be encouraged to pursue business careers and take leadership positions in the Valley.
About Bank of America Charitable Investments
With a $1.5 billion philanthropic goal over the next 10 years, The Bank of America Charitable Foundationis one of the largest corporate charitable organizations in the country. The mission of Bank of America Charitable Investments is to deploy a targeted array of philanthropic resources that help neighborhoods grow and prosper, thereby creating thriving environments where the bank's customers, associates and shareholders live, work and invest.
About Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk-management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving 33 million consumer relationships with more than 5,800 retail banking offices, more than 16,700 ATMs and award-winning online banking with more than 13 million active users. Bank of America is the No. 1 overall Small Business Administration (SBA) lender in the United States and the No. 1 SBA lender to minority-owned small businesses. The company serves clients in 150 countries and has relationships with 98 percent of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies and 85 percent of the Global Fortune 500. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
UC Merced, the 10 thcampus of the University of California system and the first major research university to be built in the United States during the 21st century, will open in fall 2005 with approximately 1,000 students, ultimately growing to a student population of 25,000. A select group of graduate students began work at UC Merced in August 2004. The university has a special mission to serve the educational needs of San Joaquin Valley residents, and is already serving area students through partnerships with community colleges, outreach programs and UC summer session courses offered in Fresno, Bakersfield and Atwater. UC Merced currently employs more than 350 educators and other professionals who are working to develop the physical and academic infrastructure of the campus.