Navarro Academy
Harriett Romo (left) with children and staff at Navarro Academy
(Photo by Mark McClendon)

Bank of America gives $1 million for child program

By David Gabler
UTSA Assistant Vice President for Communications

(Oct. 23, 2007)--A $1 million grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation will support early childhood development programs in the Bank of America Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute (CAPRI), which will be housed at the UTSA Downtown Campus.

The naming of the institute will be announced Oct. 23 by UTSA President Ricardo Romo and Kenny Wilson, president of Bank of America Central and South Texas, at a reception before the annual UTSA President's Scholarship and Awards Dinner at the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel.

"The University of Texas at San Antonio and Bank of America share the common goal of creating opportunities in the lives of the people and communities we serve," said Wilson. "Demand for quality education and educators is on the rise in San Antonito and throughout Texas. We are pleased to be able to support the Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute because teachers and students reaching their full potential contribute to the vitality of San Antonio, making it a wonderful place to live, work and play. Education and economic experts alike describe such early childhood programs as economic development with a high public return."

Building solid foundations -- not only for low income families but also for aspiring early childhood educators and researchers -- is the reason Harriett Romo, UTSA associate professor of sociology, created the institute, which provides a place for faculty and students to come together, create research teams and collaborate on projects.

"I wanted our faculty and students to have more opportunity to do research -- applied research as well as research that is going to be published in academic journals," said Romo. "All of the work of the Bank of America CAPRI is aimed toward bettering the opportunities for children and families, especially low income, mostly Latino families in San Antonio. Many of our projects focus on barriers or opportunities for children."

Among the ongoing initiatives are Early Reading First, an incentive to increase literacy opportunities for disadvantaged young children from language-minority backgrounds, and a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-funded project to create a child development center at Navarro Academy, a San Antonio ISD alternative high school near the UTSA Downtown Campus. "We now have a wonderful laboratory site for our students -- one that is beneficial to the school district and to UTSA," Romo said.

Both SAISD's Navarro Academy Child Development Center and the Bank of America CAPRI benefit from the $1 million grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. It funded a playground for preschoolers at the academy and two endowments at UTSA -- one for scholarships and another to secure the future of the institute.

"With the Bank of America Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute Endowment and the Endowed Scholarship for Child and Adolescent Development Studies, this wonderful corporate partner has given us a gift that will truly keep on giving," added Romo. "We are so grateful to Bank of America for investing in the children of San Antonio."

Bank of America has embarked on an unprecedented 10-year goal to give $1.5 billion to nonprofit organizations engaged in improving the quality and vitality of their neighborhoods. The Bank of America Charitable Foundation will give more than $200 million in 2007, making the bank one of the most generous corporate donors in the world.

Bank of America approaches giving through a national strategy called "neighborhood excellence," under which it works with local leaders to identify and meet the most pressing needs of individual communities. Through Team Bank of America, bank associate volunteers contribute more than 500,000 hours each year to improve the quality of life in their communities nationwide. For more information, visit the Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy Web site.

For more information about Bank of America CAPRI, contact Harriett Romo at (210) 458-2549.