This July, Bank of America, a valued supporter of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a history of philanthropic giving, is celebrating 100 years of supporting the nation’s military and their families.
Continuing the tradition of support for service personnel and their families who have done so much to preserve freedoms and protect the welfare of Americans, Bank of America has given $250,000 to UNC-Chapel Hill to create the Bank of America Military Families Scholarship Endowment Fund. The fund will provide scholarship support for military families through the University’s Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge.
“Our support of veterans, service members and their families is an important component of who we are as a company,” said Kari Stoltz, Triangle market president for Bank of America. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to serving military personnel and their families who contribute so much to our company, the Triangle community and our country.”
North Carolina is home to the nation’s fourth-largest contingent of active duty service members, many of whom have dependents who want — and deserve an opportunity — to go to college. Programs like the Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge allow UNC-Chapel Hill to support academic excellence and create opportunity through scholarships for students who earn their place at Carolina, regardless of their ability to pay.
Students like Reina Kinnaly, a first-generation college student from Jacksonville, North Carolina. Growing up in a military family — her grandfather was a Navy veteran and her father is a retired 21-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps — Reina learned to accept the sacrifices that come with having a parent serving the country. She said her acceptance to Carolina brought excitement and pride to the family, tempered by the uncertainty of how they would pay tuition.
Reina and her family aren’t alone. In fall 2019, Carolina enrolled 398 undergraduate first-year and transfer students affiliated with the military, the large majority of whom were military dependents. Of those 398 students, more than half qualified for and received financial aid. When Reina and her family learned that she qualified for support through the Carolina Covenant and the Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge, they were relieved and grateful.
“My dad always told me that it wasn’t him making the sacrifices; it was us, his family, since we had to go through many times without him,” Reina shared. “With this support I feel that the University acknowledges the sacrifices of military children, and I’m extremely appreciative of this show of gratitude.”
Reina majored in exercise and sport science and graduated from Carolina in May 2020.
“I see all of this as a big blessing, because I know that I couldn’t be here without this support,” said Reina. “It makes me feel like the sacrifices we all made as a family over the years have been recognized.”
UNC-Chapel Hill was built on a mission of public service. Bank of America’s gift allows Carolina to expand its reach and educate additional qualifying scholars, improving the lives of individuals and families.
“We’re very thankful that there’s kind people out there that did this for our kids,” said Brian Kinnaly, Reina’s father.
Bank of America’s gift counts toward the University’s most ambitious fundraising campaign in history, For All Kind: the Campaign for Carolina, launched in October 2017. As of June 2020, the University has raised more than 76% of its goal to reach $4.25 billion by December 2022.