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Martin Richards and BofA help neighborhoods excell

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The San Francisco market president for Bank of America, Martin Richards, oversees a foundation that will dole out $3.6 million to nonprofit organizations statewide this year, including $450,000 to groups in The City. Goodwill of San Francisco and the Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco each were awarded $200,000 in unrestricted grant funding as part of Bank of America’s Neighborhood Excellence Initiative.

What is the history of the bank’s Neighborhood Excellence Initiative? This has been our sixth year in the program. The idea behind giving the unrestricted grants is to really let organizations do what they want with the money.

What qualities is the bank looking for under the initiative? We’re trying to promote a new standard of excellence. We have a panel here that carefully vets all of the eligible nonprofits, and we’re looking for excellence at what they strive to do.

How can the funds help? We want to allow them to network and improve their best practices.

How important is it for corporations like Bank of America to invest in local communities? The bank has always been involved in the San Francisco community, as evidenced by our 21,000 hours of associate volunteer service last year. It’s part of our responsibility as a corporation, but it’s also part of an enlightened self-interest. It makes sense on a business basis to have strong communities with a well-trained work force and a strong educational background.

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