Bank of America’s charitable focus is on helping communities experience improved economic situations by addressing three core areas:
- Revitalizing neighborhoods
- Educating the workforce for 21st-century jobs
- Addressing basic human services, such as shelter, food access and medical care
It’s the first bullet on that list that led Bank of America to help launch American Forests Community ReLeaf program, an initiative dedicated to the assessment, restoration and monitoring of urban forests in the U.S.
But why urban forests and how do they help revitalize neighborhoods?
For the services they provide, urban trees are among America’s hardest working. Well-situated trees can help reduce energy usage in homes and offices, lower crime rates in neighborhoods, improve test scores for students, increase property values, encourage shoppers to spend more at local businesses and improve a community’s quality of life and sense of pride.
Hope was a common theme in our project in Detroit, where Bank of America, American Forests and local partners joined forces and transformed a nearly-one-acre vacant lot into the city’s first outdoor education center. Local students, community members, nonprofit volunteers and Bank of America staff all worked hand-in-hand to complete the project, whose butterfly garden and shortgrass prairie installations will provide a learning space for children and adults for generations to come.