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Menlo Park nonprofit entrepreneurial group gets $300,000 grant from Merrill Lynch

Original post made by Jeffrey Weidel, Menlo Park: Downtown, on Oct 26, 2006

MERRILL LYNCH AWARDS NEARLY $2.1 MILLION TO PROMOTE ENTREPRENEURSHIP
IN UNDER-SERVED COMMUNITIES

Menlo Park group among the recepients

SAN FRANCISCO, October 25, 2006 – Merrill Lynch today awarded nearly $2.1 million in grants to nine San Francisco Bay Area non-profit organizations as part of a more than $4.3 million California effort to teach young people about entrepreneurship and finances.

BUILD, a Menlo Park group, received $300,000 for three years.

The award-winning program, Investing Pays Off, is part of Merrill Lynch's California Partnership for Economic Achievement, a comprehensive initiative by Merrill Lynch, The Greenlining Institute and community organizations that has resulted in nearly $1 billion in money into under-served areas of California over the last 10 years.

The partnership promotes economic opportunities by bringing the financial capabilities of Wall Street to California's ethnically diverse communities.

"This IPO promises to deliver important long-term dividends by helping young people in under-served communities gain the financial and business skills needed to power tomorrow's economy," said Gregory Mech, Managing Director of Merrill Lynch's Western Division, which includes California. "Through Investing Pays Off, we partner with local organizations who open new opportunities to young people – creating tomorrow's entrepreneurs."

The Merrill Lynch Foundation focuses its efforts on youth and education through Merrill Lynch ClassroomSM, a suite of signature philanthropic programs aimed at providing better access to educational opportunities for those who need them most.

"These grants will touch the lives of many young people – and touch the communities where they live as the students learn important skills to become tomorrow's business and civic leaders," said John Gamboa, Executive Director of The Greenlining Institute.

"Greenlining administers a 10-day summer camp at UC Berkeley for students who participate in IPO programs to transform them into 'social entrepreneurs' able to address challenging public policy issues in our state, such as affordable housing and healthcare," Mr. Gamboa said. "Collectively, we see these programs as a tremendous platform for innovative programs that not only teach entrepreneurship, but help chart a path for their future."

Entrepreneurship is the backbone to our economy, creating jobs and wealth for communities where entrepreneurship thrives. Yet, many young people in under-served communities aren't personally exposed to even the idea of running their own business and creating jobs and wealth in their communities.

According to the Department of Labor, most of the new jobs created throughout the United States in the past decade have come from the creative efforts of entrepreneurs and small businesses, which have been expanding and advancing technology and fueling the recent growth in the economy.

"Merrill Lynch is committed to helping young people, regardless of background, have the right opportunities to succeed in business," said Eddy Bayardelle, President of the Merrill Lynch Foundation and Head of Global Philanthropy for Merrill Lynch. "We are putting our resources toward organizations that have a vision for empowering young people – and changing their communities."

Northern California grant recipients range from Juma Ventures, a non-profit organization that provides employment and job-training opportunities for youth ages 14-29 in the San Francisco Bay Area, to the Girls Scouts of Tierra del Oro in Sacramento, who help young women prepare for careers and train them to successfully compete in the global marketplace.

The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), another Bay Area group that offers practical business knowledge and life skills, continues to be a world leader in promoting entrepreneurial literacy among youth. The Bay Area Initiative will reach 1,200 students and train 40 NFTE teachers.

Other grants will help fund a wide range of programs, including:

• An East Bay pilot program in Oakland that creates student-run small businesses to teach minority students life skills that can be used professionally or in higher education.
• Helping Girl Scouts learn through their annual cookie sales how to apply those skills to teaching personal finance, entrepreneurship and business skills.
• Developing a residential high school summer camp for minority students with a keen interest in financial literacy and business development.

The Merrill Lynch IPO grants, ranging from $75,000 to $500,000, will support programs for up to three years. Grant recipients were chosen through a competitive review process. Organizations will focus their efforts on financial education, investing, entrepreneurship and career development.

For more information about Merrill Lynch's California Partnership for Economic Achievement, please visit the partnership's website at www.CaliforniaPartnership.ml.com

Below is a complete list of Northern California Grant Recipients
 BizWorld, $225,000/3 years (San Francisco)
 BUILD, $300,000/3 years (Menlo Park)
 Girls Scouts of San Francisco Bay Area, $75,000/3 years (Oakland)
 Girl Scout Councils in the Central Valley/Northern California, $300,000/3 years (Coordinated by Tierra del Oro Girl Scouts in Sacramento area)
 The Greenlining Institute, $160,000/2 years (Berkeley)
 Juma Ventures, $500,000/5 years (San Francisco)
 National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, $300,000/3 years (San Francisco)
 UC-Berkeley SAGE Scholars, $120,000/3 years (Berkeley)
 Wall Street Wizards Urban Financial Literacy Program, $75,000/3yrs (Oakland)

About Merrill Lynch's Philanthropy

Merrill Lynch was founded on the idea that the world is full of opportunity. Opening the door to that opportunity for underserved children and youth is the focus of the firm's global philanthropy. In 2005, Merrill Lynch giving totaled more than $37 million, with education receiving nearly half of that support. Merrill Lynch's flagship program Investing Pays Off®--or IPO®--helps create a level playing field for youngsters of all backgrounds through financial literacy and business savvy. The program strength lies in a free curriculum, the involvement of Merrill Lynch volunteers and online educational resources at Web Link.

About The Greenlining Institute
The Greenlining Institute is a multi-ethnic research, policy and advocacy organization that works on issues of economic development and empowerment for low-income, minority and disabled communities. The Institute is the non-profit arm of the Greenlining Coalition, a multi-ethnic alliance of 38 community, business and advocacy groups. For more information on the Greenlining Institute, please visit www.greenlining.org.

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