Two Twin Cities nonprofits that help address racial equality, local youth employment, and the advancement of economic mobility and workforce development will be able to expand through a multi-year grant and leadership development training from Bank of America.  American Indian OIC and Black Men Teach have been named as the 2021 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® awardees for their work in the Twin Cities community addressing these issues.

As a Neighborhood Builder, each organization receives a $200,000 grant and comprehensive leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader.  Additionally, the new Neighborhood Builders will join a network of peer organizations across the U.S. and have the opportunity to access capital to expand their impact. Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders program continues to be the nation’s largest investment into nonprofit leadership development.


“As we work toward economic mobility and racial equality in our community, our local nonprofits are answering the call through innovative approaches,” said Katie Simpson, President, Bank of America Twin Cities. “American Indian OIC and Black Men Teach are helping close gaps for individuals and families to help them chart a path toward greater economic opportunity and stability. Neighborhood Builders is intended to support their efforts to grow sustainably and strategically so they can drive maximum positive impact in our community.”

Black Men Teach

Historically, Minnesota ranks highly in several education outcome areas, however, it ranks near the bottom in the nation for serving children of color.  As a state, Minnesota is held back by not preparing students to fulfill their highest potential. Maximizing student’s potential requires rethinking the educational needs of an ever more diverse student population. Research shows that all students, regardless of race, benefit from having Black teachers in their classroom. Black students who experience a Black male teacher in elementary school are 29 percent less likely to drop out of high school, and Black students with two Black elementary school teachers are 32 percent more likely to attend college than those who have none. With strategic partnerships and interventions like providing mentorship, scholarship and loan forgiveness support, Black Men Teach will use its Neighborhood Builder award to support continued growth and fulfill its goal to create the conditions where Black men thrive in education and increase the number of Black men leading elementary school classrooms.

“Within this decade, Black Men Teach will change education outcomes for students. Our goal is to create the conditions where Black men thrive in education,” said Markus Flynn, Executive Director of Black Men Teach. “We know that when Black students have a Black man leading their class, students have better perceptions of themselves, score higher on tests, are suspended and expelled less, have a better chance at graduating, and are more likely to enroll in college.”

American Indian OIC

American Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center (AIOIC) was founded in 1979 to address the education and employment disparities faced by American Indians in and around south Minneapolis. In the years since its founding, AIOIC has built a workforce of more than 25,000 people from the Twin Cities and tribal nations across the country, gaining national recognition as a leader in workforce development. Although created to support people of Native descent, American Indian OIC’s resources and programs are open to all.

Neighborhood Builder funding will support the American Indian Youth Career and College Exploration project, a year-round, out-of-school-time program that provides 145 youth with job placement services and post-secondary education enrollment support each year.

“I am evidence that investing in leadership development efforts has an impact on organizations and the community,” said Dr. Joe Hobot, who has served as president and CEO of American Indian OIC since 2014. “With the flexible funding that comes with the Neighborhood Builders award, we will prepare future leaders to provide transformative services, mentorship, and leadership development to American Indian and BIPOC youth.”

Since 2004, Bank of America has invested over $280 million in 50 communities through the Neighborhood Builders program, partnering with more than 1,400 nonprofits and helping more than 2,800 nonprofit leaders strengthen their leadership skills. Here in the Twin Cities, a total of 13 nonprofits have been selected as a Neighborhood Builder, with the bank investing more than $2 million into these local organizations through the program since 2013.  

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.

American Indian OIC

American Indian OIC is a nonprofit workforce development agency that helps more than 1,000 people each year enter, reenter and advance in the workforce. The mission of the organization is to empower American Indian people to pursue career opportunities through individualized education, training and employment services in a culturally rich environment. To achieve its goals, the agency operates an alternative high school and post-secondary job training center, and provides adult education and career coaching services. To learn more, visit

Black Men Teach

With strategic partnerships and interventions like providing mentorship, scholarship and loan forgiveness support, Black Men Teach will increase the number of Black men leading elementary school classrooms. To learn more about our mission, visit

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