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The Bank of the West Philanthropy Awards Present $210,000 in Grants to Winning Nonprofits

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Bank of the West awarded $210,000 in cash grants during its third annual philanthropy award program that took place in San Francisco on November 13.


BlackGirlsCode, devoted to promoting young women of color in the technology industry; Union Rescue Mission, providing emergency and long-term services to the homeless in downtown Los Angeles; and Kansas Children's Service League, a children's advocacy organization, were recognized as the three winning laureates and each received a $50,000 grant. Six finalists were also recognized during the program and received $10,000 each.

"Bank of the West is pleased to recognize this year's award winning nonprofits and the significant contributions they have made in responding to the needs of individuals and families in the communities where they serve," said Senior Executive Vice President John Bahnken, head of Bank of the West's Wealth Management Group. "The leadership and dedication of these nonprofits are an inspiration to all of us who – either personally or professionally – support the important work of advancing opportunity and promoting health and well-being within our communities."

One laureate and two finalists were named in each of the following three categories.

  • Innovation in Philanthropy: recognizes an emerging nonprofit with an innovative approach to improving the quality of life for individuals, prompting long-term sustainable change and addressing a critical societal issue.

Winner:  Black Girls Code, based in San Francisco, recognizes that minority students, especially girls, opt-out of math and science as early as elementary school and are significantly underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in post-secondary institutions. The program introduces girls aged 7 to 17 to computer programs in a supportive environment and has reached more than 400 students in eight cities.

Finalist:  Hunger Free Colorado, based in Centennial, works to increase access to food, specifically for children in families that qualify for but may not necessarily have access to food assistance programs.

Finalist:  Kitchen Table Advisors, based in Mountain View, CA, focuses on community economic development and helps established, small-scale, low-income sustainable farmers in Northern California succeed in the business world.

  • Community Impact: recognizes a nonprofit organization inspired by a Bank of the West customer with a history of philanthropic activity.

Winner:  Union Rescue Mission, based in Los Angeles, annually provides one million meals, 250,000 nights of shelter and 15,000 medical and legal sessions as well as job training and other emergency and long-term services to homeless in downtown LA.

Finalist: Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, Inc. provides prevention and intervention programs to more than 35,000 individuals annually from more than 30 locations in Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas.

Finalist: WESST, a New Mexico-based small business development and training organization targets low-income women and minorities who are aspiring or established small business owners.

  • Team Member Commitment: recognizes a nonprofit in honor of a Bank of the West team member whose leadership has significantly advanced the organization's mission and inspired fellow team members.

Winner:  Kansas Children's Service League, based in Wichita, helps more than 40,000 families each year with adoption services, foster care, early childhood education and family support services.

Finalist:  Children's Hospital & Medical Center, based in Omaha, provides pediatric health care services for more than 250,000 children annually in a five-state region.

Finalist:  Rebuilding Together San Francisco mobilizes teams of volunteers to provide free repairs and renovations for low-income, elderly and disabled San Franciscans, enabling them to live independently.

Nominations for the Innovation in Philanthropy Award were submitted by the public within the 19 western and mid-western states the bank operates. The winner was chosen through an online forum that drew thousands of votes on the bank's Facebook page.  Nominations for the Community Impact and Team Member Commitment Awards were submitted by Bank of the West employees. The winner and finalists in these two categories were chosen by an independent committee of foundation leaders.

Bank of the West's Wealth Management Group and Community Affairs created the Philanthropy Awards program in 2010 to recognize outstanding examples of organizations and individuals who are making a difference in their communities. The Philanthropy Awards program represents one component of the bank's dedication to engaging its financial and human resources to improve its communities. The bank also targets loans, investments and contributions to directly support low- and moderate-income people and communities.

In 2012, Bank of the West was acknowledged as a top corporate philanthropist in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose by the Business Journal and Business Times publications. The bank's giving in the three regions was a combined total of $2.75 million. For more information about the Bank of the West Philanthropy Awards and other Bank community initiatives, visit:

About Bank of the West
Founded in 1874, $63 billion-asset Bank of the West (, member FDIC and equal housing lender, offers a wide range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services. The bank operates more than 700 retail and commercial banking locations in 19 Western and Midwestern states. Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, which has a presence in 80 countries with nearly 200,000 employees.

SOURCE Bank of the West

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