BALTIMORE — Shaquille Brooks, 21, a graduate of Digital Harbor High School in Baltimore proudly talks about his internship with the investment management firm Legg Mason.
“I have been with Legg Mason for three years,” said Brooks. “I started there as an intern, which provided me with the opportunity learn a whole new side of technology. Now, I am an IT college intern at Legg Mason. I will finish my AA Degree in the spring, and will be attending Towson State University in the fall to pursue a degree in IT.”
Brooks added, “I owe this amazing opportunity to the Urban Alliance program. This program showed me there was a future after high school, and taught me how to excel.”
It’s stories like Brooks, which helped the Urban Alliance Baltimore to be selected by Bank of America as the recipient of the 2016 Neighborhood Builders grant. On Monday, December 5, 2016, Bank of America presented the youth development organization with a $200,000 check at the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) in Baltimore. The event, included lunch prepared by Gertrude’s Restaurant and celebrated Bank of America’s community partnerships with local Baltimore non-profit organizations.
“This is a financial and investment award for the development of talent,” said Sabina Kelly, Greater Maryland Market President for Bank of America. “Urban Alliance Baltimore will receive the $200,000 grant over the next two years.”
Through Neighborhood Builders, the bank provides local nonprofits with a unique combination of leadership development, $200,000 in flexible funding, and a network of peer organizations across the U.S. and the opportunity to access capital in order to expand their impact in the Baltimore community.
“Bank of America is working to make a difference,” said Kelly. “We want healthy communities for our associates and hire people from the community. It is good for us, our members and helps to make communities healthy and vibrant. The work of Urban Alliance Baltimore is extraordinary. They plan to use some of the grant money to almost, double the number of people they serve from 40 to 75.”
Urban Alliance offers yearlong career opportunities for high school seniors in Baltimore; Chicago; Northern Virginia; and the District of Columbia with the goal of giving youth access to professional growth and experiences. Urban Alliance Baltimore is located at 1500 Union Avenue in Hampton.
According to Urban Alliance Baltimore, the Neighborhood Builders Grant will support a pilot program launched in collaboration with Baltimore City Public Schools Career and Technology Education (CTE). The program provides high school students with the opportunity to gain their professional trade certification in construction. Students are provided the opportunity to learn about vocational and workforce career skills, and duel-enroll in the High School Internship Program (HSIP) while earning credit from University of Baltimore.
“For us, this award is a game changer,” said Stephanie Amponsah, executive director for the Urban Alliance Baltimore. “It is such a vote of confidence in our program. To have this level of support means so much.”
Eshauna Smith is CEO of the Urban Alliance, which empowers under-resourced youth to aspire, work, and succeed through paid internships, formal training and mentoring.
“This grant provides us with the opportunity to be creative and flexible, which is something that non-profits rarely have,” said Smith. “That is a very special component to this award because it allows us to be flexible to meet the needs of those we serve. This award also provides professional opportunities that will allow our clients to grow into professional leaders over time.”
Kevin Wilson, an alumnus of the Urban Alliance Baltimore is one of them. The 18-year-old currently attends Baltimore City Community College (BCCC), and plans to become an accountant or international banker.
“The program opened my eye to see the business world is a great place to be,” said Wilson, who is a graduate of Northwestern High School. “Through the program, I was able to get a paid
internship with Bank of America. It was amazing. I was given the wonderful opportunity to see how people do business.”
He added, “I sat among business people who earned their degrees, are working as executives, and I listened to what they had to say. I also learned about loans, how they work, how you should come into a bank and discuss loans, and buying a house. I watched and learned how business is handled, and that experience was invaluable.”
For more information visit www.theurbanalliance.org