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Two LI nonprofits win $200,000 grants for their work helping others

Volunteer and staff mentors at Life's WORC in

Volunteer and staff mentors at Life's WORC in Garden City work with kids and teens with developmental issues and autism. Credit: Jeremy Bales

Bank of America has awarded two Long Island nonprofits with $200,000 grants and a year of leadership training for their efforts to address economic mobility locally.

Life’s WORC, a Garden City nonprofit that provides individuals with developmental disabilities and autism with vocational training opportunities, along with other services, and United Veterans Beacon House, which provides supportive housing, counseling and case management services to veterans, were named award recipients of Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders program.

“If you’re a bank, you’re really operating in the local community,” said Bob Isaksen, Bank of America’s Long Island market president. “Your business can only really be as strong as the local community. It’s really an obligation on our part, is the way we see it.”

In addition to the grant funding each organization will receive – $200,000 each over two years – the nonprofits will also be introduced to a network of other nonprofits across the country and receive a year of leadership training for their executive directors and an “emerging leader” within their operations, Isaksen said.

Janet Koch, chief executive of Life’s WORC, which operates 43 group homes across Long Island and the city, said the recognition and funding will give the nonprofit the ability to go “above and beyond” its normal offerings.

“It’s always exciting for us to have an opportunity to try something new and to be able to do that with a strong, reputable, recognized company such as Bank of America standing next to you,” she said. "We’re honored and privileged, and we’ve got the people waiting who want to be employed.”

The organization plans to use the grant to partner with local businesses to create four 12-week classes designed to provide job-seekers with disabilities the chance to receive vocational training, Koch said.

Frank Amalfitano, president and chief executive of United Veterans Beacon House, said the award "couldn’t come at a better time for us. We’ve experienced in the past few years tremendous growth.”

The organization, which houses veterans in over 40 properties across the Island, plans to use the funds to bring in additional staff, increase programming and upgrade antiquated computer systems.

“The generosity of Bank of America is beyond my imagination,” Amalfitano said.

The national consumer banking giant has partnered with 14 Long Island nonprofits since 2005 through its Neighborhood Builders program, investing more than $5.5 million in economic mobility initiatives.

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