November 28, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
San Francisco, Calif., Nov. 28, 2023 – United Way Bay Area announced a multi-year $3 million grant from BMO to support individuals, students, and families at the organization’s SparkPoint Centers across the Bay Area. The grant expands BMO’s long-standing strategic partnership with United Way organizations into California and reflects the company’s commitment to grow the good in the communities where it operates.
“BMO is proud to grow our United Way partnership in the Bay Area. Together, we’re working to provide essential resources for our neighbors to make progress and achieve financial stability,” said Kimberley Goode, Chief Communications and Social Impact Officer at BMO. “The joining of forces between BMO and United Way Bay Area is about much more than financial support. It’s a testament to the shared belief that thriving communities are the cornerstone of a prosperous society. By aligning our values and missions, BMO and United Way Bay Area are fostering a legacy of empowerment and driving progress for an inclusive society.”
United Way Bay Area’s SparkPoint Centers are a one-stop service and referral hub for financial, career, and basic needs services for low-income individuals and their families. United Way Bay Area operates 23 SparkPoint Centers across eight Bay Area counties, with a 24th slated to open early next year. Nearly half of the centers are located on community college campuses.
“In almost 15 years since the launch of the first SparkPoint in Oakland, United Way Bay Area has been guided by the community we serve, driven by the data, and inspired by our partnerships with mission-driven organizations. Through our SparkPoint initiative, we are committed to providing our Bay Area neighbors who are struggling to make ends meet with the tools and the resources they need to achieve their financial goals. With the 24th UWBA SparkPoint Center preparing to launch, we are so excited to join forces with BMO to maximize impact for Bay Area families,” said Kevin Zwick, CEO of United Way Bay Area.
More than one in four Bay Area families do not earn enough to make ends meet. SparkPoint Centers help to meet urgent essential human needs: food, housing assistance, financial guidance, and build opportunities and financial pathways for long-term prosperity. Clients work with financial coaches and advisors to change the long-term trajectory of their financial outlook, setting goals and creating strategies to put SparkPoint clients on the path to economic security.
Data helps to paint the picture of SparkPoint’s significant impact for those who take advantage of its services. The average SparkPoint client achieved a $10,000 increased annual income, $6,228 in increased savings, and improved their credit score by 107 points. Community College students who participated in SparkPoint were about 86% more likely to succeed (i.e., persist, graduate, or transfer) than students not participating.
The United Way is also a key partner of BMO’s Employee Giving Campaign, an industry-leading effort that has resulted in more than $100 million dollars of donations from BMO employees to charities across North America over the past 4 years alone. Rated #1 by United Way Worldwide for its participation and for donations per capita, BMO’s campaign achieves participation rates of above 80% year after year. To kick off its campaign on this Giving Tuesday, BMO has organized volunteer activities for employees at United Way headquarters or agencies in 13 cities across North America. In the Bay Area, hundreds of BMO employees are participating in several of these events, producing over 1000 personal care kits for neighbors in need.
United Way Bay Area (UWBA) mobilizes the Bay Area to assist people living in poverty and to dismantle the root causes of poverty. One of the most respected and highly effective philanthropic organizations fighting poverty, UWBA supports workers and students seeking employment and better careers, helps families struggling to meet basic needs, supports our neighbors toward achieving their financial stability goals, and advocates for housing justice for all Bay Area residents. Learn more at uwba.org.
Helping communities thrive by supporting the organizations that sustain them and encouraging employee giving and volunteerism is at the heart of BMO’s Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life. In 2022, our social impact included more than $69 million donated to hundreds of charities and non-profit organizations across North America to help drive progress by enabling individuals to thrive and communities to prosper. Our colleagues spent over 62,000 hours volunteering in the community and contributed more than $31 million of donations through our annual employee giving program. For more information, please visit BMO.com.
BMO Financial Group is the eighth largest bank in North America by assets, with total assets of $1.25 trillion as of July 31, 2023. Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a diverse team of highly engaged employees providing a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management, global markets and investment banking products and services to over 13 million customers across Canada, the United States, and in select markets globally. Driven by a single purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, BMO is committed to driving positive change in the world, and making progress for a thriving economy, sustainable future, and inclusive society.