Will.i.am and Chase Bank 'Trans4m' Boyle Heights
Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, together with Chase Bank, announced the 'Trans4m Boyle Heights' program Wednesday at Roosevelt High School.
Will.i.am's charity, the 'i.am Angel Foundation,' received a $1 million grant from Chase Bank to kick start the building of a community center in Boyle Heights. The center will provide tutoring, mentoring, and job training for residents.
"I was blessed for all the fruits and all the love and care and nurturing and culture Boyle Heights provided for me I knew I was always going to come back and bring opportunity to folks," said Will.i.am.
Chase has also committed to giving $7 million over the next three years.
"Our growth story has been tremendous," CEO of Chase Consumer Banking Ryan McInermey said. "We feel great about it, but it also comes with a deep seed of responsibility. Responsibility to give back to the communities in which we operate."
Of adults over the age of 25 living in Boyle Heights, only 31 percent have a high school diploma. A mere five percent are college graduates.
Will.i.am says a big focus of the program will be on education and youth in the community.
"I want to encourage these kids in Boyle Heights because if I can do it, some 13 year old right now can do it," said Will.i.am.
Students at Roosevelt High say the gift gives them hope.
"It's inspiring to know there are people from Boyle Heights that are making it," senior Ricardo Ayala said.