American Conference on Diversity is honored to receive a grant of $7,000 from longtime Partner in Education Bank of America Charitable Foundation in support of the 17th Annual Lead for Diversity Youth Education Program. For the past five years, Bank of America has given generously to the initiative, which equips high-school students to recognize and challenge bias and oppression within their communities and impacts close to 18,000 students throughout New Jersey each year.

“The Bank of America Charitable Foundation provides philanthropic funding to address pressing community issues. It’s been our privilege to partner with many outstanding nonprofit organizations that are creating economically vibrant communities as we continue to deliver on a 10-year goal of $2 billion in philanthropic giving. I congratulate you on your receipt of a grant,” states Bank of America’s Etta Rudolf Denk, Senior Vice President, NJ Market Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, in a letter to the American Conference on Diversity.

Thanks to the generosity of Bank of America and other Partners in Education and donors, more than 50 percent of this year’s Lead for Diversity school participation costs have been paid for.

“We couldn’t be happier to give this check to you,” says Bank of America’s Ann Marie Carollo, Consumer Market Manager, Northern New Jersey. “Not only do we love to help in a financial way, but we also love to help in a volunteer way. We are here rooted in the community to help in any way.”

During the yearlong youth education program, which kicked off this summer, student delegates from dozens of public, private, and charter high schools throughout New Jersey discover the value of diversity through experiential learning. They hone their social-awareness, leadership, conflict-resolution, and human-relations skills, and then work with their peers and faculty advisors to create action plans that will be implemented during the 2012-2013 school year to address challenges unique to their communities.

“What happens is with each child, a life is changed in how they see the world and differences,” says the American Conference on Diversity President and CEO Elizabeth Williams-Riley. “We’ve had so many young people that have gone through this program that continue to stay with us. They start when they’re in high school and now, in their professional lives, they give back as volunteers. And all of our corporate sponsors are helping us make a difference.”