Mayor Angel Taveras, House Speaker Gordon Fox, and Bank of America Rhode Island President Bill Hatfield hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Billy Taylor House today at 185-187 Camp Street.
With the support of Mayor Taveras and Speaker Fox, Bank of America donated the three-story vacated building to the Billy Taylor House, a nonprofit organization assisting the youth of the Mount Hope neighborhood through workforce development and life skills programming.
Mayor Taveras, a strong supporter of the Mount Hope neighborhood, worked with City Councilman Kevin Jackson to obtain a $74,000 Community Development Block Grant that is pending HUD approval for the renovation of the house.
"Billy Taylor House is an important resource for the Mount Hope community, and we are grateful to the volunteers and supporters who provide vital services to Providence's young people," said Mayor Angel Taveras. "I was pleased to work with Speaker Fox to secure a new home for the Billy Taylor House and I thank Bank of America for their generous donation."
Speaker Fox grew up in Mount Hope and represents the neighborhood at the State House. He also obtained a $5,000 legislative grant for the new organization's recently completed summer programming.
"When I was approached by the board members, I was proud to work with Mayor Taveras and Bank of America to facilitate the house donation and the exciting plans that they have for our young people," said Speaker Fox. "The organization will provide invaluable assistance to the youth of Mount Hope to learn vocational and job-training skills to help them succeed in life."
Bank of America's Hatfield surprised Billy Taylor House leaders at the event with a $10,000 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, which will be used to help speed up the renovation process. James Monteiro, the executive director of the Billy Taylor House, and Eugene Monteiro, the chairman of the House's Board of Directors, spoke at the event and accepted the donation.
"There's no better way to build on the Billy Taylor legacy than by donating the house he grew up in to the organization that bears his name," said Hatfield. "With this property as a foundation, James, Eugene and the rest of the Billy Taylor House team will help countless young men and women from the neighborhood put themselves on a path to success."
The goal of the all-volunteer organization is to carry on the legacy of Billy Taylor, who grew up in the house that will soon be renovated in his name. Taylor was a mentor to hundreds of Mount Hope youth before he died in 1986 at the age of 29 from a life-long heart ailment. A park on Camp Street is also named in his memory.