PNC Bank awards grants to expand UAB business students’ community reach

UAB’s Collat School of Business students get grants and plan to help the community and inspire local students.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business has been awarded two grants that will continue its community work and launch a program that introduces high schoolers to business careers.

pnc tax prepPNC Bank recently awarded the UAB chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants with an $11,000 grant to further its work of free tax preparation for low-income families and individuals, as well as $15,000 to fund the creation of an Accounting Career Awareness Program (ACAP).

“We sincerely appreciate PNC’s generous gift and are grateful for our continued partnership with PNC and the United Way,” said Collat School of Business Dean Eric Jack, Ph.D. “This gift will be instrumental in helping our students gain valuable, hands-on experience while giving back and making a difference in our community.”

NABA’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, or VITA, has worked in conjunction with the United Way of Central Alabama to provide free tax preparation services for low- to lower-middle-income residents for more than six years. The program is co-sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service and provides UAB students with experiential training as they work to assist Birmingham-area residents who qualify under income guidelines.

The grant funds will be used to expand the program’s reach by recruiting more student tax preparers and helping more Alabamians. Monies will also be used to acquire needed computer equipment and to advertise the program to the broader Birmingham community. 

In addition, UAB’s NABA designed a pilot program for African-American and other minority high school students to encourage them to pursue careers in accounting and finance. The group launched its own ACAP program, and the grant will help fund that initiative.

Nationally, ACAP got its start in 1980 and has a primary objective to increase the understanding of accounting and business career opportunities among high school students from underrepresented ethnic groups. Students receive educational enrichment experiences and practical help needed for college preparation and a career in accounting.

The UAB program will revolve around a one-week summer residency that introduces students to careers in accounting and business through a carefully tailored curriculum involving faculty and guest lecturers from local businesses and government.

According to Lary Cowart, Ph.D., interim chair of the Department of Accounting and Finance, the accounting faculty and NABA students are excited to launch this program in the summer of 2014.

“Without PNC’s help and support, we would not be able to provide these opportunities to the students,” he said. 

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