Philanthropy Awards

Bank of the West Celebrates Philanthropy.

In 2015 Bank of the West was pleased to announce that nonprofit organizations Barrio Logan College Institute and Lava Mae were each awarded $100,000 grants as winners of the bank’s sixth annual Philanthropy Awards.  The awards recognize nonprofit innovation, leadership and measurable impact across the bank’s regions and beyond.

Photo L-R: Jenny Flores, Community Affairs Manager at Bank of the West; Jose Cruz, Executive Director of Barrio Logan College Institute; Doniece Sandoval, Founder of Lava Mae; Cheryl Farley, Wealth Management Group Regional Manager at Bank of the West; Michael Shepherd, Chairman and CEO of Bank of the West

“Commitment to community is a core value for Bank of the West,” said Michael Shepherd, Chairman and CEO of Bank of the West. “Along with the expertise we provide to help customers achieve their financial goals, we are proud to give back through corporate philanthropy, charitable investments and bank-wide volunteerism. By incorporating philanthropy into how we conduct business, we collaborate with more than 800 nonprofit organizations addressing vital issues and enhancing the quality of life in the communities where we live and work.”

Barrio Logan College Institute, Winner of the Community Impact Award
San Diego-based Barrio Logan College Institute (BLCI) received the bank’s Community Impact Award, which recognizes an inspirational nonprofit organization making significant advancement in transforming life outcomes for people from under-resourced communities on a local, statewide or regional level.

For the majority of young people in the Barrio Logan neighborhood of San Diego, a college education is only a dream. Thanks to Barrio Logan College Institute, 117 under-resourced students from this community have graduated from a four-year university and are on track to transform their lives and be positive role models for those who follow in their footsteps.

The San Diego nonprofit is the only afterschool program in the city to offer college-preparatory services beginning as early as the third grade. BLCI attributes early exposure to higher learning as part of its success as the institute believes the sooner a student is exposed to the possibility of college, the more likely they are to attend.  One hundred percent of BLCI high school graduates enroll in a college or university each fall, and 90% of the institute’s alumni are college graduates or currently on track toward a college degree.

Lava Mae, Winner of Innovation Award
San Francisco-based Lava Mae received the bank’s Innovation in Philanthropy Award, which recognizes a visionary, ambitious and entrepreneurial nonprofit organization that employs new and creative approaches to addressing challenging social issues that especially affect under-served communities.

San Francisco’s official homeless count exceeds 7,500 and the city struggles to accommodate basic sanitation needs through approximately 16 public shower stalls. For the thousands of homeless who live on the streets of San Francisco, the ability to take a shower or use a private toilette is more than about being clean—it’s about retaining their human dignity.

In 2013, Lave Mae was created to provide showers to a population struggling to retain their dignity and self-worth. The nonprofit turned a decommissioned muni bus into a mobile shower facility and, in its first year of operations (June 2014-June 2015), provided over 3,500 showers to 1,200 people.  Lava Mae now operates two buses, which were funded in part through Indiegogo crowdfunding campaigns and a $100,000 grant from the Google 2014 Bay Area Impact Challenge. Google has committed an additional $500,000 for the organization's plans to scale in San Francisco and the Bay area, and Lava Mae looks to launch a third mobile facility in the coming year.

About the Bank of the West Philanthropy Awards
Bank of the West’s Wealth Management Group and Community Affairs Department created the Philanthropy Awards in 2010 to highlight the bank’s commitment to community, and also honor organizations that are making tremendous strides in improving the quality of life for individuals and families within the communities it serves. Nonprofits are selected each year based on eligibility criteria, with final awardees being selected by a jury comprised of an internal selection committee along with external nonprofit and foundation leaders.  Since the start of the awards program, the Bank has recognized nonprofits with more than $1 million in grants through its Philanthropy Awards.