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Bank of America donated a total of $100,000 to the nonprofits serving Oregon's growing Latino community.

SUBMITTED - FROM LEFT: Bank of America Senior Vice President Gabe Gomez, Empresas Food Business program coordinator Odalis Aguilar, Empresas program manager Javier Urenda  and Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle pose for a photo with the new $50,000 donation.  Two nonprofits serving the local Latino community have received a total of $100,000 — with the money aimed at helping business owners, workers and families achieve economic prosperity.

The grants from Bank of America will send $50,000 each to the Portland-based Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber and to Adelante Mujeres, which is based in Forest Grove.

"Latino entrepreneurs are among the fastest growing segments in the country, and Bank of America is committed to helping fuel economic engines in our local economy," said Roger Hinshaw, the bank's market president for Oregon and Southwest Washington, in a Jan. 30 announcement.

As Oregon Community Foundation recently reported, Latino Oregonians are a key segment of the region's economy, but can face barriers when raising capital and applying for loans — such as a lack of credit history or having fewer assets to borrow against.

With that in mind, the Hispanic Chamber will use the gift to bolster its Workforce Development Leadership training program, as well as by providing technical assistance to small shopkeepers wading through red tape.

"Entrepreneurship is an important way for Latinos to move up economically," said Gale Castillo, executive director of the chamber serving 4,100 business, of which half are owned by women. "The funding will allow us to provide critical services to our Latino entrepreneurs, foster upward financial mobility and create long-term wealth."

Adelante Mujeres' share will fund its Empresas workforce development program that helps business owners become self-sufficient by improving management and productivity techniques.

"This investment from the Bank of America," said co-founder Bridget Cooke, "will enable us to connect more youth to first-time jobs, give young Hispanic-Latino adults alternative pathways to employment, and provide second chances to individuals with barriers to help them rebuild careers and lives."

Oregon's population is more than 12% Latino, a slice of the pie that has grown 72% since the turn of the millennium.

SUBMITTED - FROM LEFT: Bank of America Senior Vice President Alex Ortega, Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber board chair Rossanna Bosch, Chamber executive director Gale Castillo, Merrill market executive Theresa Schnetz and Bank of America Senior Vice President Gabe Gomez pose for a photo with their new $50,000 donation.


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