Denver’s St. Francis Center and the Women’s Bean Project get free money from a big bank

They’ll get $400,000 between them for an award sponsored by Bank of America.

Tom Luehrs, longtime director of the St. Francis Center, stands for a portrait in the facility's storage room on Dec. 1, 2017. (Andrew Kenney/Denverite)

Tom Luehrs, longtime director of the St. Francis Center, stands for a portrait in the facility's storage room on Dec. 1, 2017. (Andrew Kenney/Denverite)

Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

St. Francis Center and the Women’s Bean Project will each receive $200,000 from Bank of America.

As winners of this year’s Bank of America Neighborhood Builders awards, St. Francis Center, which provides housing and other services for people experiencing homelessness, and Women’s Bean Project, a social enterprise, received the money and a year of leadership training for their executive directors and a second staff member at each nonprofit.

Bank of America has supported six Denver nonprofits through Neighborhood Builders since 2013.

Raju Patel, Bank of America’s Denver market president, said in a statement that “homelessness and workforce development continue to be key issues across Denver, which is why the work of Women’s Bean Project and St. Francis Center is vital to our economic growth and sustainability. We look forward to seeing how these nonprofits use the grant and leadership training to enhance their programs and services.”

Tom Luehrs, St. Francis Center’s executive director, said his organization would use the money to improve infrastructure, add staff and expand mental health services. Women’s Bean Project CEO Tamra Ryan said the grant would enable her organization to offer job readiness and skills training to more women.

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