Business · Fresno

Fresno DRIVE lands $300k grant from Bank of America. Here’s where it’s going.

Fresno’s DRIVE Initiative received a sizable donation from Bank of America intended to help young adults prepare for high-demand careers. 

Bank of America gifted $300,000 – the largest donation it has awarded in Fresno – to Career Nexus, one of DRIVE’s 19 initiatives. 

Fresno DRIVE (Developing the Region’s Inclusive and Vibrant Economy) launched in 2019 as a 10-year investment plan aimed at cultivating inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the greater Fresno area. 

The Central Valley Community Foundation, which is headed by former Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, is at the forefront of the DRIVE Initiative. 

“Bank of America is continuing their steadfast support for innovative and impactful investments in Fresno,” Swearengin said in a statement. “Bank of America’s grant directly invests in residents from underserved and disinvested neighborhoods and connects them with paid, work-based learning internships in high-growth, high-wage sectors.” 

Career Nexus offers a career readiness program for young adults, who are then connected to various paid internship opportunities. 

The donation will go directly to supporting young adults largely from underserved neighborhoods. 

“Bank of America’s leadership gift invests in the community, its young adults and local employers who benefit from a career-ready, diverse and talented workforce,” said Career Nexus CEO Kurt Madden in a statement. 

“This investment will help young adults grow their skillsets and work experience, and inspire career paths within their interest areas to earn a good wage. Additionally, a gift from a revered national institution at this level is a testament that Fresno County’s trajectory toward economic prosperity is on the right track.” 

This is the second donation from Bank of America to the DRIVE Initiative. Bank of America donated $50,000 in 2019 to invest in a data dashboard to track economic indicators and economic mobility in Fresno. 

“Career Nexus comes at a critical time as society and the economy begin to safely reopen from the pandemic. There’s a real opportunity right now to address disparities through new career programs so that the region’s economic recovery is inclusive and equitable to all,” Bank of America Fresno-Visalia Region President Mark Riley said in a statement. 

“Fresno DRIVE takes a thoughtful and strategic approach to the region’s economic solutions and will surely make Career Nexus a success for thousands of local workers and employers.”

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.