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The Laurel Civic Association was recently awarded a $30,000 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to provide funding for its new Hand Up! initiative. Hand Up! is an empowerment project to build financial capacity in economically distressed low-income families and underserved populations in Sarasota County.

Hand Up! will work with local partners to provide financial education tools and offer relaxed qualifying requirements to deliver access to things like car loans, checking and savings accounts, credit cards and more. Applicants with lower incomes and from minority communities are often denied or saddled with hefty fees to obtain these same services. Additionally, Blacks/African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos (are disproportionately affected by poverty, pre-existing health conditions, and unemployment. Covid-19 has magnified these historical inequities, further widening the racial-wealth gap and demonstrating a heightened need for workforce training and reskilling.

Earlier this year, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation announced a four-year, $1 billion commitment to help local nonprofit partners address those economic and racial issues, with a focus on improving lives and strengthening communities by creating opportunities for people of color. Hand Up! will be offered to Laurel Civic Association clients beginning in November 2020. 

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