Bank of America Names Mill Village Ministries as 2022 Neighborhood Champion in the Upstate

GREENVILLE, SC – Programs and services that are addressing the local need for healthy food, entrepreneurship training and sustainable bicycle transportation will expand, helping more people chart a path toward economic opportunity with help from a multi-year grant from Bank of America. Mill Village Ministries has been named as the 2022 Bank of America Neighborhood Champion in the Upstate for work in Greenville to remove economic barriers and advance economic opportunity.

As part of the program, Mill Village Ministries will receive $50,000 in grant support and an opportunity for engagement in virtual leadership training delivered by experts in the nonprofit sector on topics like human capital management, increasing financial sustainability and storytelling.


“Mill Village Ministries is a model of convening the community and developing creative approaches to empower underserved communities, beginning in West Greenville but now reaching far beyond. Through their umbrella of unique programs, they are assisting people of all ages with upward mobility,” said Stacy Brandon, president, Bank of America Upstate South Carolina. “The Neighborhood Champion award will support the various social enterprises within the Mill Village Ministries collective, as they scale these programs for long-term success.”

Mill Village Ministries is a faith-based family of nonprofit enterprises that elevates our whole community through social justice, healthy food, bicycle access, youth employment and entrepreneurial training in Greenville. Mill Village Ministries accomplishes this work through four social enterprises: Mill Village Farms, Village Engage, Village Launch and Village Wrench.

• Mill Village Farms (MVF) is a nonprofit farm and produce distributor that teaches life skills to youth, employs students and provides access to healthy produce for all. MVF houses FoodShare Greenville, part of a state-wide program which fights food insecurity by selling subsidized fresh produce boxes to customers with SNAP benefits or financial strain.
• Village Engage is a nonprofit faith-based community organizer that provides educational opportunities, space for dialogue and avenues for action to tackle systemic injustices facing the people of Greenville.
• Village Launch is a nonprofit Entrepreneur Support Organization that offers educational services, mentorship and market access primarily for minority and women-owned start-ups.
• Village Wrench is a nonprofit bicycle shop that provides accessible sales and service, youth employment, and community education for all current and future bike riders. Together, these enterprises make up Mill Village Ministries.

The Neighborhood Champion award will help Mill Village Ministries to expand their impact and reach more neighbors in West Greenville through education, workforce readiness, entrepreneurship training and sustainable transportation.

“This award from Bank of America is a true honor and we are incredibly grateful for this funding and support,” said Dan Weidenbenner, Executive Director of Mill Village Ministries. “But more than that, the bank’s investment will make a real impact on improving our operations, systems and leadership training. It will allow our team to create more tailored and efficient programming. As a result, upward economic mobility will be more attainable for our neighbors right here in West Greenville.”

In the Upstate, four nonprofits have been selected as Neighborhood Champions since 2019, with the bank investing $200,000 total into these local organizations. Previous recipients include Soteria Community Development Corporation, United Ministries and Hispanic Alliance.

The invitation-only program is highly competitive, and organizations are selected by a committee comprised of community leaders and past Neighborhood Champion honorees.

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. Through 2021, Bank of America has invested $6.3 million in 126 organizations within 42 communities through the Neighborhood Champions program.

 


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