Bank of America Names Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Nine PBS 2021 Neighborhood Builders®

Program Provides $200,000 in Flexible Funding and Leadership Development Training to Each Organization to Advance Economic Mobility in St. Louis

St. Louis, MO, November 10, 2021Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Nine PBS have been named as the 2021 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® awardees for their work in the St. Louis community addressing workforce development and education.

As a Neighborhood Builder, each organization receives a $200,000 grant over two years; comprehensive leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader on topics ranging from increasing financial sustainability, human capital management and strategic storytelling; joins a network of peer organizations across the U.S.; and gets the opportunity to access capital to expand their impact. The program continues to be the nation’s largest investment into nonprofit leadership development.

“As communities continue to recover and navigate a changing landscape, nonprofits are still experiencing significant demands to help meet critical local needs like education and workforce development,” said Marilyn Bush, President, Bank of America St. Louis. “Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Nine PBS are helping bridge important gaps to help those in our community achieve economic opportunity and stability. Programs like Neighborhood Builders help these organizations grow sustainably and strategically for greater positive impact.”

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is the largest independent research institute dedicated to plant science in the world. Through their Education Research and Outreach Lab (EROL) program, it helps enhance the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science by delivering STEAM+Ag® (Science Technology Engineering Art Math and Agriculture) programming to more than 3,500 students annually.

Through a partnership with the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation and the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences, funding from this grant will help support the new Jackie Joyner-Kersee Food, Agriculture, and Nutrition Innovation Center (JJK FAN - I Center). Located in East St. Louis, IL, the Center provides a diverse and inclusive next generation workforce program designed to meet the hiring needs of the St. Louis region's growing agtech and bioscience industries.

“With the help of the Neighborhood Builders program, the Danforth Center can accelerate the breadth and depth of STEAM+Ag/STEAD programing by supporting instructors who guide East St. Louis JJK students in conducting authentic research experiences while collaborating with Danforth Center Scientists,” said Kristine Callis-Duehl, PhD, the Sally and Derick Driemeyer director of Education Research and Outreach at the Danforth Center. “This provides students an opportunity to learn STEAM workforce skills, make professional connections to scientists and contribute data that can directly help their community improve food access and ultimately community health and nutrition.”

For the past 67 years, Nine PBS has served the St. Louis region with the highest-quality, non-commercial locally and nationally produced programs, informed by their early education and workforce development initiatives, partnerships, and events. Nine PBS reaches 2.4 million people – 95% of households in the St. Louis Metro Area in Missouri and Illinois. In the last five years, Nine PBS has grown their early education work exponentially, as their vision is to be a training hub and educational resources for educators, caregivers, and families to increase kindergarten readiness and close third grade achievement gaps.

“Now more than ever, keeping St. Louis area children learning and ensuring that educational tools are readily available is a fundamental component of our mission,” said Amy Shaw, President and CEO, Nine PBS. “In collaboration with and support from Bank of America, particularly as a Neighborhood Builder, we have an additional exciting opportunity to incorporate financial education into our STEM content, strengthening kids' math, decision-making, and economics skills.”

Since 2004, Bank of America has partnered with 29 nonprofits in St. Louis, investing $5.8 million to provide education and workforce development here in St. Louis, through their Neighborhood Builder program. The invitation-only program is highly competitive, and leading members of the community participated in a collaborative selection process to identify this year’s awardees. Neighborhood Builders is just one example of how Bank of America deploys capital in communities, builds cross-sector partnerships, and promotes socioeconomic progress as part of its approach to responsible growth.

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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Reporters May Contact:
Diane Wagner, Bank of America, 312.992.2370

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