Bank Providing Paid Summer Internships to Community-Minded Teens at Local Nonprofits Along with Leadership Development
By Sentinel News Service
Bank of America recently announced that five high school students across Los Angeles have been selected as Student Leaders (#BofAStudentLeaders). This signature philanthropic program offers young people an opportunity to build their workforce and leadership skills through a paid summer internship at a local nonprofit and the ability to help improve their communities.
Through Student Leaders, Bank of America helps young people gain work experience, broaden their perspective on how nonprofits serve community needs, and advance their civic engagement. Student Leaders from across the country also develop better money habits by working with bank volunteers to increase their financial management skills, from building a budget to creating a savings plan.
The five Student Leaders are Christian Alexander, a Torrance resident and recent graduate at Hawthorne Math & Science Academy, Mehrin Ashraf, a Los Angeles resident and rising senior at UCLA Community School, Jordan Desai, a Woodland Hills resident and recent graduate at Chaminade High School, Darwin Perez de Pablo, an Inglewood resident and rising senior at Lennox MST Academy and Angelina Quint, a Hawthorne resident and recent graduate at Da Vinci Science School.
They will work at Archdiocesan Youth Employment Services (AYE) at Los Angeles South West College, Boys and Girls Club of Carson, Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYCC) and Operation Gratitude, where they will learn all aspects of running a large nonprofit.
“We recognize that building workforce skills early can help prepare a young person for long-term success,” said Raul A. Anaya, Greater Los Angeles market president, Bank of America. “Investing in youth and young adults is part of our broader commitment to connect people to the training and jobs needed for success, ultimately strengthening our community.”
To bring the program full circle and enable Student Leaders to engage with their likeminded peers, Bank of America also hosted its annual leadership summit in Washington, D.C. on July 8 through July 13. Students joined nearly 300 other young people from across the country to build advocacy and inclusive leadership skills and develop a peer network. In addition to discussing civil rights and the value of cross-sector partnerships, they will meet with members of Congress and participate in a service learning project at the American Red Cross.
For more Bank of America news, including dividend announcements and other important information, visit www.bankofamerica.com.
This article originally appeared in The Los Angeles Sentinel.
By Porsha Monique
Eboni K. Williams is a national TV host, attorney, and author who wants you to “treat yourself like a business, regardless of your employment status.” Williams says “…even if you’re working full-time for a company, everyone should think of their employer as a client, and not necessarily their only client.”
We talked more with Williams about how people should function as their own business. Some of the advice she shared included establishing a personal brand independent of your employer, negotiating terms more aggressively, setting up an LLC for project work, and more. Check out the article below to read further on what she had to share.
Why is it important for people to treat themselves like a business?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I take a position that we’re all entrepreneurs. I don’t believe that any one of us can afford to be job candidates in this work environment in 2019. I encourage everyone, even if you have a day job, to really see yourself and assert yourself as a business owner. I think it’s critically important.
What does treating yourself like a business mean to you?
I think it’s self-explanatory. You have to see yourself as a decision maker, as the CEO of whatever it is you’re doing. I don’t care if it’s cleaning toilets. But that company should be a client of yours. So, [that means] not being beholden to any one job, and seeing yourself as always having a skillset.
It also means always approaching every single business interaction from the skill/value correlation space; whether it’s working for your day job, side gig, side hustle, or if you’re in a freelance basis, or some combination of them all. [You should position] yourself as the chief executive of the decisions that are in your best interest.
Your book Pretty Powerful came out in 2017. What does the title suggest?
The book is a love letter to women, and I’m unapologetic about that. Pretty is a word that has been very manipulated in terms of the way we define it and understand it. I think it’s been perverted even. When I say pretty, I mean pretty. I mean something that all the ways that as people and as women particularly, we can construe pretty in our faith, in our confidence, in our comfortability as we show up in the world. That is what I mean by pretty. And that should look a million different ways.
When I say pretty powerful, I mean that. I mean the extraction of a literal power dynamic that comes from your assertion of your comfortability in the way you show up in the world. So, it is not a pun, or a play on words. It is a very literal interpretation by me: “Pretty Powerful.”
Is another book on the horizon?
Absolutely. [It’s] in the works. We’re a little ways away from it, but I will tell you it will be deeply personal and it’s going to be a different kind of personal love letter to people.
What other advice would you give, especially for women?
The more general you are, the more generic you are, and therefore the more difficult you make it to command specificity when it comes to, not just your pay, but your overall value. I have an Instagram post that was very well received, where I [posted] the hashtag #ValuableAF. It was my New Year’s post. I had come back from a trip to South Africa and Zimbabwe and really stepped into wholly valuing myself because of the way I felt valued in those spaces, in ways I did not necessarily feel valued here in the states, in my personal and business relationships and even within my own family structure.
So, just making sure as women in particular, they hold out on their value proposition and assert it, and perfect it. But at the same time, make sure they know what they’re clear about what their value is. Meaning, a lot of the times, some of these women’s empowerment mantras are about lady boss, I’m bossed up, I’m slaying, but what’s the underlying message? People have to do the work. You’re not valuable because you walk around with a vagina. You’re valuable because you’re offering something that is uniquely important and consequential to your community, to your family and to your society.
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, convened a full Committee markup that will include bills introduced by Committee Democrats to make critical reforms to the broken credit reporting system.
This markup follows a February hearing entitled, “Who’s Keeping Score? Holding Credit Bureaus Accountable and Repairing a Broken System,” where Committee Democrats held the nation’s major credit bureaus accountable.
The bills introduced by Members to reform credit reporting, credit scores and the credit reporting agencies include:
H.R. 3614, the Restricting Use of Credit Checks for Employment Decisions Act, a bill to ban the use of credit information for most employment decisions, except when required by law or for a national security clearance.
This legislation was introduced by Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL).
H.R. 3618, the Free Credit Scores for Consumers Act of 2019, a bill that would require consumer reporting agencies to give consumers free copies of their credit scores that are used by creditors.
This legislation was introduced by Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH).
H.R. 3621, the Student Borrower Credit Improvement Act, a bill to help private student loan borrowers remove adverse information for certain defaulted or delinquent loans when they demonstrate a history of timely repayment.
This legislation was introduced by Rep. Ayana Pressley (D-MA).
H.R. 3622, the Restoring Unfairly Impaired Credit and Protecting Consumers Act, a bill that would shorten the time period in which adverse information would stay on a consumer report from seven years to four years.
This legislation was introduced by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).
H.R. 3629, the Clarity in Credit Score Formation Act of 2019, a bill to establish clear federal oversight of the development of credit scoring models by directing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to set standards.
This legislation was introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA).
H.R. 3642, the Improving Credit Reporting for All Consumers Act, a bill to improve the process for consumers to resolve inaccuracies on their credit reports, including by creating a new right to appeal credit report decisions, and direct the CFPB to develop minimum standards for the credit reporting agencies.
This legislation was introduced by Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC).
By Christopher G. Cox, publisher and managing editor, www.realesavvy.com
“The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is probably the number one cash benefit program for low income families in the country,” according to Chris Rockey, senior vice president, market manager, Greater Maryland Community Development Banking for PNC Bank.
“It can be a challenge to get into the program,” Rockey adds, “but it is a way to put needed cash into a family’s pockets.”
The EITC was implemented as a way to offset the impact of Social Security taxes on low to moderate taxpayers and to provide them with an incentive to work. The credit can be worth up to $6,431 for 2018 and up to $6,577 in 2019 for families with three or more qualifying children. For taxpayers with two qualifying children, the maximum credit this year is $5,828. The maximum credit for one qualifying child is $3,526.
“The EITC is different than other federal assistance programs,” Rockey continued, “because you actually have to have income in order to qualify.”
There are several ways individuals can determine if they are eligible for the EITC, Rockey explained. “A number of community action associations through their financial programs are very aggressive about educating their clients about the EITC, as well as other programs like the CTC (Child Tax Credit),” he said.
Rockey also noted that he has seen a trend with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) preparation sites whereby they are focusing on reaching out to working families to help them through the eligibility process.
“There are clearly efforts under way from an educational standpoint, “Rockey said, “but like any other government program it can be cumbersome, and unless you have someone who can help you navigate the twists and turns it can be confusing.”
In a best-case scenario, Rockey notes, a family or individual works with a case manager or social worker who is skilled in the process. He adds that by consulting with a VITA site, taxpayers can position themselves to be eligible for next year’s credit even if they are not signed up for the current tax year. It is also possible to apply for the benefit retroactively.
Rockey said that PNC Bank does not work directly with potentially eligible taxpayers to qualify them for the EITC, but it does explain how the program works and will refer them to its trusted community partners for intake. “Our partners can provide the information and resources our customers are looking for,” he adds.
Still, obtaining accurate, reliable information about the EITC can be a challenge, Rockey warns. It is often difficult for those who need information about their eligibility to get access to transportation and take time off from work to meet with someone who can help them to qualify.
“It’s not just getting educated about the EITC,” he added, “it’s also about learning how to access the benefits while keeping their job.”
Even in the current divided political environment, Rockey is encouraged about the outlook for the EITC because over the years it has gained a great deal of bipartisan political support. In recent years, he adds, there has been some talk of trying to modernize some of the EITC’s income qualifications.
“Unlike federal programs that benefit individuals and families who are not in the workforce, “he said, “the EITC provides a direct benefit to the working poor. Whether you are an R or a D, you want more people in the workforce.”
By Charlene Crowell, Communications Deputy Director with the Center for Responsible Lending
In recent years, the spate of homicides linked to questionable uses of deadly weapons and/or force, have prompted many activist organizations to call for racial reparations. From Trayvon Martin’s death in Florida, to Michael Brown’s in Missouri, Eric Garner’s in New York and many other deaths — a chorus of calls for reparations has mounted, even attracting interest among presidential candidates.
While no amount of money could ever compensate for the loss of Black lives to violent deaths, a growing body of research is delving into the underlying causes for high poverty, low academic performance and — lost wealth. Public policy institutes as well as university-based research from the University of California at Berkeley and Duke University are connecting America’s racial wealth gap to remaining discriminatory policies and predatory lending.
This unfortunate combination has plagued Black America over multiple decades. And a large part of that financial exploitation is due to more than 70 years of documented discriminatory housing.
The Road Not Taken: Housing and Criminal Justice 50 Years After the Kerner Commission Report, returns to the findings of the now-famous report commissioned by President Lyndon Johnson. In the summer of 1967, over 150 race-related riots occurred. After reviewing the 1968 report’s recommendations and comparing them to how few were ever enacted, the Haas Institute tracks the consequences of recommendations that were either ignored, diluted, or in a few cases pursued. Published by Berkeley’s Haas Institute for Fair and Inclusive Communities, it weaves connections between education, housing, criminal justice – or the lack thereof.
“Although in some respects racial equality has improved in the intervening years,” states the report, “in other respects today’s Black citizens remain sharply disadvantaged in the criminal justice system, as well as in neighborhood resources, employment, and education, in ways that seem barely distinguishable from those of 1968.”
In 1968, the Kerner Commission report found that in cities where riots occurred, nearly 40% of non-white residents lived in housing that was substandard, sometimes without full plumbing. Further, because Black families were not allowed to live wherever they could afford, financial exploitation occurred whether families were renting or buying a home.
As many banks and insurance companies redlined Black neighborhoods, access to federally-insured mortgages were extremely limited. At the same time, few banks loaned mortgages to Blacks either. This lack of access to credit created a ripe market for investors to sell or rent properties to Black families, usually in need of multiple needed repairs. Even so, the costs of these homes came at highly inflated prices.
In nearly all instances, home sales purchased “on contract” came with high down payments and higher interest rates than those in the general market. The result for many of these families was an eventual inability to make both the repairs and the high monthly cost of the contract. One late or missed payment led to evictions that again further drained dollars from consumers due to a lack of home equity. For the absentee owner, however, the property was free to sell again, as another round of predatory lending. As the exploitive costs continued, the only difference in a subsequent sale would be a home in even worse physical condition.
The Plunder of Black Wealth in Chicago: New Findings on the Lasting Toll of Predatory Housing Contracts, also published this May, substantiates recent calls for reparations, as it focuses on predatory housing contracts in Illinois’ largest city. Published by Duke University’s Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity, this report analyzed over 50,000 documents of contract home sales on the Windy City’s South and West Sides and found disturbing costs of discriminatory housing in one of the nation’s largest cities, as well as one of the largest Black population centers in the nation. Among its key findings:
- During the 1950s and 1960s, 75-95% of Black families bought homes on contract;
- These families paid an average contract price that was 84% more than the homes were worth;
- Consumers purchasing these homes paid an additional $587 each month above the home’s fair market value;
- Lost Black Chicago wealth, due to this predatory lending ranged between $3.2-$4 billion.
“The curse of contract sales still reverberates through Chicago’s Black neighborhoods (and their urban counterparts nationwide,” states the Duke report, “and helps explain the vast wealth divide between Blacks and Whites.”
Now fast forward to the additional $2.2 trillion of lost wealth associated with the spillover costs from the foreclosure crisis of 2007-2012. During these years, 12.5 million homes went into foreclosure. Black consumers were often targeted for high-cost, unsustainable mortgages even when they qualified for cheaper ones. With mortgage characteristics like prepayment penalties and low teaser interest rates that later ballooned to frequent and eventually unaffordable adjustable interest rates, a second and even worse housing financial exploitation occurred.
A 2013 policy brief by the Center for Responsible Lending, found that consumers of color – mostly Black and Latinx – lost half of that figure, $1.1 trillion in home equity during the foreclosure crisis. These monies include households who managed to keep their homes but lost value due to nearby foreclosures. Households who lost their homes to foreclosures also suffered from plummeting credit scores that made future credit more costly. And families who managed to hold on to their homes lost equity and became upside down on their mortgages – owing more than the property is worth. Both types of experiences were widespread in neighborhoods of color.
In terms of lost household wealth, nationally foreclosures took $23,150. But for families of color, the household loss was nearly double — $40,297.
CRL’s policy brief also states. “We do not include in our estimate the total loss in home equity that has resulted from the crisis (estimated at $7 trillion), the negative impact on local governments (in the form of lost tax revenue and increased costs of managing vacant and abandoned properties) or the non-financial spillover costs, such as increased crime, reduced school performance and neighborhood blight.”
As reparation proposals are discussed and debated, the sum of these financial tolls should rightly be a key part. While the Kerner Commission recommendations remain viable even in 2019, it will take an enormous display of public will for them to be embraced and put into action.
“The Kerner Report was the ‘road not taken’, but the road is still there,” noted John A. Powell, the Hass Institute’s Director.
Charlene Crowell is the Communications Deputy Director with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christopher G. Cox, Publisher and Managing Editor, www.realesavvy.com
For many decades the preferred homebuilding method has been to assemble all the construction materials on site and build from the ground up, usually over a period of about six or more months. This is still the method used to construct some 90 percent of homes being built today.
A completely different method of offsite homebuilding — modular construction — has also been around for many decades, but has not gained much traction until recently.
“Over the last 20 years,” said Maria Coutts, president of The Coutts Group and a senior officer of the Pennsylvania Builders Association, “the customization of modular homes has a consistent record of matching site-built homes and meeting customer demand, largely due to the use of computer-aided design.
“The use of overhead cranes also allows modular structures to be as wide and as high as desired,” Coutts adds.
In modern modular construction, modules are manufactured in a climate-controlled factory environment. “This decreases the possibility of the materials being exposed to rain, snow and wind,” Coutts explains. “Prolonged exposure to these elements can lead to warping, mold and nail pops throughout the home. Also, squeaky floors and steps can be an issue if it is raining or snowing during a site build,” Coutts said.
Jeff Holdren, district sales manager, western territories, for North Carolina-based Holmes Building Systems, agrees with Coutts that quality control is greatly enhanced with modular building. “Actually, if you think about it,” Holdren said, “a modular home is a lot stronger structure. You have to be able to pick it up, put it on a transport and wind tunnel test it to 60 miles an hour.”
Both Coutts and Holdren point to the relative speed of construction of modular versus site-built homes. “The time a site builder might be involved in the construction process,” said Coutts, “is tremendous and with modular this time is cut in half.” Holdren concurs, noting, “A home can be finished within 120 days from the time we start.
“Many of the homes featured on the television series ‘Extreme Home Makeover’ are modular homes because of the speed required by the production schedule,” Holdren adds.
Coutts and Holdren also agree that the public at large is not aware of the many advantages of modular construction.
“Modular homes are much better than when I started in 2002, 17 years ago,” Holdren said. He attributes the lack of growth in part to the failure of his industry to better educate the public. “We do not do a great job of educating people. There is still a general perception that a modular home is inferior,” he notes.
Coutts is optimistic that this is changing. “Site-built construction has been the standard for so long that consumers don’t always research both sides, pro and con, of these two styles. As the concepts and practices of modular construction are becoming more popular with the general public, more consumers are becoming very receptive to this building practice,” she said.
Perhaps as a sign of things to come, Coutts notes that modular construction has gained much more of a foothold in Europe than it has in the U.S. “Modular construction will eventually increase in use similar to the northern European countries of Denmark, Sweden and Germany,” said Coutts, “where it accounts for 20 to 85 percent of total annual builds.”
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
Four years ago, the American Petroleum Institute, the world’s largest energy industry trade association, opened a chapter in Colorado, owing to the growing opportunities from natural gas and oil in the state. Since its inception, the Colorado Petroleum Council has served as an advocate for – and partner to – communities across the state, placing great emphasis on innovation, public health and safety. This has allowed the industry the ability to invest in reducing its emissions to historic lows even as energy production has reached all-time highs.
“Most importantly, Colorado is our home,” said Lynn Granger, the new Executive Director of the Colorado Petroleum Council. “When we arrived in Colorado, our mission wasn’t simply to grow jobs and economic opportunities for the people of our state, though we are encouraged with our progress on that front. We breathe the same air and drink the same water as our neighbors, and we are proud of the leading role that our industry has played – and will continue to play – in the development and implementation of emissions-reducing technologies that benefit all of Colorado’s vibrant communities, regardless of income level, color or creed.”
A big part of CPC’s efforts to enhance communities is focused on aggressively pursuing investments in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education given its crucial role in the sustainment of career opportunities for all Coloradans.
“We’re especially proud of our commitment to education,” continued Granger. “Our industry has taken a leading role in promoting STEM education across Colorado. The natural gas and oil industry continues to grow amidst the American energy renaissance, creating jobs that need to be filled with talented, skilled workers. We are focused on ensuring that Coloradans from every walk of life are given a true and just opportunity to benefit from these opportunities, and the foundation for future success begins in the classroom.”
The natural gas and oil industry is projected to create 1.3 million new jobs between 2015 and 2025, with that number growing to 1.9 million by 2035. Of these new jobs, 707,000, or 38 percent of the total, are projected to be filled by African American and Hispanic workers through 2035.
According to a 2018 report based on state and federal data, natural gas and oil operations support over 232,900 Colorado jobs, provide an annual statewide economic impact of more than $31.4 billion, and contribute more than $1.2 billion per year in public revenue to the state, including $180 million toward local universities and school districts.
“These jobs and dollars support communities across Colorado, funding everything from schools, to roads, to emergency responders,” noted Granger. “But they do so much more than that. This has allowed us to redouble our commitment to education at the local level and to serve as true partners in communities across the state. We are proud of the work we have done thus far, but know that there is more to be done for current and future generations of Coloradans.”
Colorado’s natural gas and oil industry, in partnership with dozens of government agencies, has implemented the most robust regulatory framework in the nation. Granger acknowledged that the industry’s growth, and the burgeoning opportunities it provides, can only be sustained with an all-hands effort toward keeping public health and safety paramount.
“None of what our industry does would be worthwhile if not for a round-the-clock effort to mitigate any environmental impacts that could have adverse effects on Colorado communities,” said Granger. “These efforts have been my top priority since assuming this role, and I want the people of our state to know that I will be fierce in promoting a balance between sustainability and the opportunities our industry brings to the table.”
Granger, in closing, recognized the existing disparities in Colorado’s economy, and expressed determination on behalf of her industry to be proactive in addressing the issue.
“People have moved to Colorado in droves from across the country, which has certainly presented challenges. We are committed to turning those challenges into opportunities. Colorado’s economy consistently ranks as best in the nation, but these economic opportunities feel out of reach for too many people in our state. The natural gas and oil industry is committed to being a partner in changing this dynamic. Everyone deserves a shot at the American dream, and the Colorado Petroleum Council and our member companies are unwavering, through investments in education, innovation, and directly into communities, to bringing these dreams to life.”