Bank of America Selected as 2022 NJCU Leadership Awards Innovation Honoree; Will Join Three Individuals Honored May 31

April 28, 2022
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JERSEY CITY, N.J. | New Jersey City University has announced that Bank of America will be recognized as the final honoree during the 2022 NJCU Leadership Awards — the institution’s annual celebration of those who have made a lasting impact on society in the Jersey City and the greater Hudson County area. Bank of America is the fourth individual or organization to be celebrated as part of the four-honoree gala and will be acknowledged in the Innovation category.

Alberto Garofalo, President, Bank of America New Jersey, will accept the honor on behalf of the bank.

“It is an honor to receive the NJCU Leadership Award for Innovation in recognition of Bank of America’s commitment to delivering industry-leading capabilities and financial solutions that are accessible to all,” said Garofalo. “Our approach to responsible and sustainable growth includes advancing our capabilities to better serve communities and clients alike. As we move toward a digital-forward future, we look forward to continuing to find new ways to help people live better financial lives.”

In January 2022, NJCU and Bank of America announced a historic partnership whereby the company will invest $560,000 in the NJCU School of Business and its Career Services Center. This unique grant is the largest single corporate gift and most significant investment in career development in NJCU’s history. The investment is in the form of a four-year grant that will address racial, ethnic, and income inequality and help students of color successfully complete the education and training necessary to enter the workforce and embark on a path to success.

The award honors Bank of America New Jersey for its demonstrated commitment to providing opportunities, advancing economic mobility, and giving back to the people that live and work in the communities it serves — true leadership rooted in a commitment to community, the advancement of racial equality, and economic opportunity.

In 2020, Bank of America announced a $1 billion, four-year initiative to help advance racial equality and drive economic opportunity, with a focus on helping create opportunity for people and communities of color. In March 2021, that commitment was increased to $1.25 billion over five years to accelerate the work already being done from the original commitment, as well as an immediate $1 million commitment and related actions in support of increased advocacy, dialogue, and engagement with the Asian American community. The bank remains committed to serving individuals and small businesses in underserved communities, with a notable long history of supporting the Hispanic-Latino community.

The 2022 NJCU Leadership Award will be held on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 at 6 p.m. at the Liberty House, located at 76 Audrey Zapp Drive in Jersey City.

Presented by the NJCU Foundation, this year’s theme will be Celebrating Transformational Impact, and the university will honor four individuals in the categories of Service, Arts, Innovation, and Legacy.

Assembly Deputy Majority Leader and New Jersey Assemblywoman Angela V. McKnight was the first honoree announced and will be recognized in the Service category. Developer Paul Silverman, whose approach to building neighborhoods through Jersey City-based real estate company, SILVERMAN, and who has been a steadfast supporter of the arts as a volunteer and philanthropist, is the second recipient in the Arts category.

Last week, NJCU announced that John J. Moore, L.L.M., ‘56, the former Chair of the Board of Trustees, longtime Trustee Emeritus and NJCU Athletics Hall of Famer, will be recognized posthumously as the third recipient in the Legacy category for eight decades of work as one of the most influential alumni and leaders in NJCU’s history.

For more information on the 2022 NJCU Leadership Awards and to purchase tickets, visit,

2022 NJCU Leadership Awards Honoree: Bank of America

The final honoree this year is the lone organization being honored as part of the NJCU Leadership Awards. The innovative grant bestowed by the bank to NJCU truly is a gamechanger, in that it will enable the NJCU School of Business to launch the Career Readiness and Placement Program (CRPP).

The CRPP will challenge students of color to address real-world business problems or case studies by engaging them in a comprehensive, interdisciplinary research and problem-solving experience. Career readiness programming will incorporate micro-credentialing in critical skill areas such as Google Analytics and Bloomberg Market Concepts, connect students with industry mentors, and offer supplemental programming through which industry professionals will participate in networking events, professional development workshops, and guest speaking so students can further strengthen essential industry skills and knowledge. While CRPP is focused on assisting students of color, career readiness programming will be available to all 1,300 business students.

At the time of the announcement of the grant NJCU President Sue Henderson, Ph.D. said: “We are grateful to all corporate partners and donors who invest in the lives of our students. This four-year investment by the Bank of America is not only a generous gift, but even more so, will ignite life-changing experiences in the lives of our students. Many of our students have financial insecurity and lack mentorship, soft skill development, and professional development and internship opportunities, which will be addressed by this gift. We thank the Bank of America for their historic investment in NJCU’s critical goal of enhancing student success.”

Garofalo, who will accept the award on behalf of Bank of America on May 31 in his role as President of Bank of America New Jersey, is responsible for connecting the banking and investment resources offered through the bank’s eight lines of business to people and companies across New Jersey. At the same time, he also leads the effort to deploy Bank of America’s resources to address social concerns, strengthen economic opportunity, and build strong communities, as well as support the health, safety, and engagement of local employees. He joined Bank of America in 2003.

As a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion, Garofalo, who was born and raised in Cuba, serves as one of the Co-Chairs for the Hispanic Leadership Executive Council. He has served as executive sponsor for several Chapters of the Hispanic/Latino Organization for Leadership and Advancement (HOLA) and the Employee Engagement and Diversity & Inclusion Council for Consumer and Small Business. He is an ally for LGBTQ+ associates and sits on the advisory council formed to advise on the $1.25 billion, five-year commitment to help drive economic opportunity, health care initiatives, and racial equality.

“As an immigrant from Cuba, I am passionate about working with my colleagues at Bank of America to support immigrant populations and minority communities throughout the state of New Jersey,” said Garofalo. “Through our community-centered approach, we advance economic mobility in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods by connecting our clients and communities to the products and services, jobs, and capital they need to increase financial resiliency. Being a leader means being on the cutting edge of innovation.”

That innovation will help address the underlying issues facing individuals and communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the global pandemic. NJCU, a top-performing school in multiple game-changing measurements, including distinction in Social Mobility, will utilize the partnership to integrate real-world experiences with in-classroom learning and professional development to assist students of color in securing meaningful internships and jobs.

NJCU, a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and Minority Serving Institution (MSI), features an undergraduate population that is 45 percent Hispanic-Latino and 21 percent Black. Additionally, 54 percent of its undergraduates are first-generation college students and 58 percent of eligible students received Pell grants during the 2020-21 academic year.

Bank of America’s investment will increase economic returns for communities of color via entry into high-wage, in-demand careers and help build and develop sustainable and collaborative hiring partnerships.

Garofalo’s advice to the next generation of leaders is to seize every opportunity — experiences that have the potential to shape their future — surround yourself with diverse, innovative thinkers that motivate you to learn and do better, and to lead with purpose and find ways to give back to your community.

“One of our deepest commitments at Bank of America is to support young adults by connecting them to jobs, community engagement opportunities, and leadership development. When my teammates and I give back to the community, we gain more from it than we give. Every day I am inspired by my colleagues at Bank of America and their dedication to serving the communities where we live and work. Their commitment motivates me and makes me strive to be a better leader and neighbor in my own community.”

“I would encourage others to consider the impact of the everyday actions that ultimately contribute to the greater good of our society. Identify a cause or local organization that is meaningful to you and find ways to give back — every effort counts.”

About the NJCU Leadership Awards:
Launched in 2018, the NJCU Leadership Awards were conceived to honor, promote, and encourage exemplary efforts by individuals and organizations who have made and continue to make exemplary contributions to our society. NJCU last held the leadership event in 2019, before the 2020 and 2021 events were canceled due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Past honorees include 2018 honorees Jersey City Mayor Steven M. Fulop (Service), Angelo J. Genova, Esq., Senior Partner, Co-Founder and Chairman, Genova Burns, Attorneys-At-Law (Innovation), Stefania Panepinto, Founder, Panepinto Galleries (Arts), and the late Thomas Stanton, Jr., a Jersey City banker, visionary and prime mover committed to the renaissance of his hometown (Legacy, awarded posthumously); and 2019 honorees Hon. Frank J. Guarini (Service), Meredith Burns, Executive Director, Art House Productions (Arts), Joseph F. Scott, FACHE, Executive Vice President, Health Care Transformation, RWJ Barnabas Health (Innovation) and the late Glenn D. Cunningham, Former Mayor of Jersey City, 2001-2004 (Legacy, awarded posthumously).

About the NJCU Foundation:
NJCU is wholly dedicated to offering the best, most affordable education to its students, as well as state-of-the-art facilities and campus amenities that augment learning and support personal development. Philanthropic giving is key in making this happen. The NJCU Foundation Board of Directors empowers this work by guiding philanthropic endeavors and serving as ambassadors for NJCU.

NJCU Foundation’s mission is to support New Jersey City University as it transforms itself into a nationally recognized leader in urban public education while maintaining its commitment to transforming the lives and livelihoods of its diverse student body.

About Bank of America:
At Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).

About NJCU:
New Jersey City University is an institution of higher learning with an audacious goal: the development of our students, our city, our communities, our state, and the world beyond. We are a game-changing force for our students and their families. Whether our students are enrolled in one of our 50 undergraduate, 30 graduate or three doctoral programs at our three locations — our main campus in Jersey City, our School of Business located in the heart of the Jersey City Financial District, or our newest location at NJCU @ Fort Monmouth which expands bachelor's and master's degree offerings along the Jersey Shore, NJCU provides an affordable, diverse environment, and an exceptionally supportive faculty—all of which prepares them to be critical thinkers in a global landscape.

We’re also changing the game for our city, our communities, and our state. As the educational anchor institution in Jersey City, we’ve established partnerships to ensure the area’s growth directly benefits our students and community members. We seek to improve the lives of everyone in the Garden State, whether creating a home for the arts, bringing educational programs to K-12 students, offering bachelor’s degrees in partnership with community colleges, or providing professional development opportunities for adults.

At NJCU, we’re not just educating minds, we’re nourishing souls and lifting communities. We’re changing the game.

Ira Thor
, Senior Director of University Communications and Media Relations | | 201-200-3301