Bank of America Charitable Foundation makes $1 million gift
to UNCís Carolina Covenant, banking and finance center
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received a $1 million gift from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation that will help increase access to a college education for financially needy students and support a banking and finance center.
The philanthropic arm of Bank of America, the Charitable Foundation is investing $900,000 in the Carolina Covenant, a groundbreaking initiative enabling low-income students to receive a debt-free education at the university, and $100,000 in the Center for Banking and Finance in UNC's School of Law.
UNC Chancellor James Moeser said the Carolina Covenant gift will play a major role in allowing more deserving students to enroll at Chapel Hill.
"Weíre grateful to the Bank of America Foundation for its show of support and generosity," Moeser said. "The Charitable Foundationís gift attests to Bank of Americaís commitment to providing more people access to the American dream by giving more people the chance to earn a college degree."
Amy Woods Brinkley, chief risk officer at Bank of America, said the Carolina Covenant furthers the Charitable Foundation's mission to help neighborhoods grow and prosper.
"The health of our neighborhoods and communities depends on strong, vibrant anchor institutions. North Carolina is fortunate to have such an outstanding state university as one of those anchor institutions, and Bank of America is pleased to announce this gift today," Brinkley said. "We envision the Carolina Covenant students receiving a world-class education, and then taking that knowledge and those skills back to their communities to make them stronger."
The Carolina Covenant launched last fall, covering the financial costs of a four-year education to 225 academically qualified freshmen who can now graduate without debt. Instead, they agree to work on campus 10 to 12 hours weekly in a federal work-study job, and the university meets the rest of their needs through a combination of federal, state, university and other privately funded grants and scholarships.
UNC became the first major public U.S. university to announce plans for such a program in October 2003. Since then, several universities, including Virginia, Michigan, Maryland, Nebraska, Harvard and Brown have created or announced plans for similar programs.
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation's $100,000 gift to the law schoolís Center for Banking and Finance will support the education of finance professionals and bank directors, while giving law students specialized training in banking and finance.
"Banking is a heavily regulated industry, and we believe our center is uniquely positioned to help assure the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the best place to study banking and financial services law in the country," said Gene Nichol, the school's dean.
Graham Denton, Bank of America president, North Carolina market, said the gift to the center made sense because of the important role banking plays in the stateís economy.
"Having people in our profession benefit from the expertise in Chapel Hill will lead to stronger North Carolina banks and that will mean stronger North Carolina communities," Denton said.
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has one of the largest philanthropic budgets of any corporate foundation in the United States. It contributed more than $108 million in 2004 and, in 2005, will launch an unprecedented $1.5 billion, 10-year philanthropic campaign. The bank contributes to many North Carolina colleges and universities, including UNC.
"Many of our graduates go on to work for the Bank of America, and its Charlotte headquarters and our Chapel Hill campus share the role of being key players in our state's economic fortunes, and indeed our nation's," Moeser said. "Working together is a natural extension of both our missions to improve people's lives."
The foundationís gifts count toward the universityís Carolina First campaign goal of $1.8 billion. Carolina First is a comprehensive, multi-year private fund-raising effort to support Carolinaís vision of becoming the nationís leading public university.