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BMO announces $1 million donation to fund BUILD Chicago’s new youth hub in Austin neighborhood

August 12, 2021 | Giving and sponsorships

This week, BMO announced a $1 million donation in support of BUILD Chicago’s new youth and community hub project in the city’s Austin neighborhood. Kimberley Goode, Chief Communications and Social Impact Officer, BMO Financial Group, joined Mayor Lori Lightfoot at a ground-breaking ceremony to share more about BMO’s support for BUILD Chicago’s mission to help youth in disadvantaged communities.

“At BMO, our Purpose is to Boldly Grow the Good, in business and life, with a focus on trying to make the neighborhoods that we work in and live in better,” said Kimberley at the event. “Not just some of the neighborhoods, but collectively we need to raise up all of the neighborhoods, including Austin, a community where we’ve really made a concerted effort to provide support.”

True to BMO’s Purpose, the new facility aims to provide youth with structure, positive experiences, a deterrent to gang and gun violence, and support for communities struggling with disinvestment and trauma, especially from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As soon as we saw BUILD’s proposal, we knew we had to be involved, and we’re thrilled to provide $1 million in funding as the lead corporate partner,” said David Casper, U.S. CEO, BMO Financial Group. “Their focus on improving the quality of life for the residents of Austin builds off of the great work already done by the INVEST South West initiative, and it aligns perfectly with BMO EMpower, our 5-year, $5 billion commitment to addressing barriers faced by minority businesses, communities and families in the neighborhoods we serve.”

Located in an area known as Chicago’s “gateway to South Austin,” the new center will provide the neighborhood with resources, including a full-sized basketball gym and fitness center, cafe, game room, lounges, and community event spaces. The building also features mental health services and a Center for Peace and Justice, which provides conflict resolution spaces in collaboration with the Restorative Justice project of the West Side.

Other features include a STEAM Education Center, a music and media center, maker’s lab, art studio, STEAM activity and performance room, and woodshop. An organic garden, play field, and courtyard will also be available for outdoor events.

Find out more about the project on the BUILD Chicago website.

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