YWCA, Boys & Girls Club Awarded Enterprise ROAD Forward Grants

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The YWCA of Mahoning Valley and the Boys & Girls Club of Youngstown are recipients of grant monies through the inaugural Enterprise Holdings’ ROAD Forward initiative.

ROAD (Respect, Opportunity, Achievement and Diversity) Forward focuses on supporting youth and families by addressing early childhood development, youth health and wellness, and career and college preparation. The St. Louis-based Enterprise Holdings – the parent company of Enterprise, Alamo and National car rental agencies – announced Thursday $7 million to be distributed to 700 nonprofit organizations addressing social and racial equity gaps facing youth and families, according to a press release.

“A commitment to the communities where we operate has been fundamental to our company since its founding in 1957,” said Enterprise Holdings Foundation President Carolyn Kindle Betz. “ROAD Forward’s local grants will support the many outstanding organizations that are leading efforts to advance equity in their communities – and ultimately strengthen the areas where our employees live and work, one neighborhood at a time.”

In November 2020, Enterprise announced a $55 million commitment over five years to organizations advancing social and racial equity in their communities. Through ROAD Forward, the company is allocating $20 million across four national nonprofits – The Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, the United Negro College Fund, Girls Inc. and Parents as Teachers – as well as $35 million to more than 70 global Enterprise operating teams to drive local impact, according to the release.

Locally, YWCA of Mahoning Valley will receive $7,500 in grant monies, and the Boys & Girls Club of Youngstown will receive $5,000.

To align with the ROAD Forward initiative, the YWCA will use the grant funds to support its Discovery Place early education and learning center, Y Girls STEAM Ahead program for Middle School Girls and Young Women with Bright Futures program for High School Young Women, which focus on the stated social and racial equity gaps, says Leah Merritt, president and CEO.

“We are grateful and proud to partner with Enterprise Holdings,” Merritt says. “Partnerships such as these allow us to continue to focus on our mission of eliminating racism, empowering women and working towards equity.”

The Boys & Girls Club looks to use the funds to support its efforts to break down impediments to employment for young men and women, says CEO Jim Bird. One such impediment is preparing kids for getting their driver’s license, which the organization looks to address next year. “This could help with that,” Bird says.

The club is also ramping up career exploration opportunities for its members and preparing them for job interviews, he notes.

“[The ROAD Forward grant] will help fund that program and develop that program even further,” he says. “It’s another fantastic investment on the part of the community in kids and families.”

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.