For Sallie Krawcheck, passion and philanthropy go hand-in-hand.

At the United Way’s Fourth Annual Women United In Philanthropy luncheon Tuesday, Krawcheck told the more than 700 attendees that her current employer, Bank of America Corp. [BAC], has donated more than $475 million to the charitable organization through the years.

Last year alone, BofA employees donated $24.5 million and worked 800,000 volunteer hours for the United Way’s Women United in Philanthropy project, said Krawcheck, the head of the Charlotte-based banking company's global wealth and investment management group.

At the luncheon, which honored 13 women for their work with New York charities, Krawcheck talked about her devotion to the scholarship fund she set up for Porter-Gaud School, the prep school she attended while growing up in Charleston, S.C. “It meant a tremendous amount to me” to set up the fund in honor of her parents who sacrificed to provide the best education for her and her siblings. 

Providing opportunities for underprivileged children to attend the school has resulted in students becoming National Merit Scholars, Krawcheck said. “A secondary impact is that it has changed the school” and made it much more diverse, she said.

Women United in Philanthropy has grown to 1,000 women in the past eight years, according to Gordon Campbell, the president of United Way of New York City. “It’s all about women saying ‘together we can make a difference," he said.

The project focuses on early childhood education and works in 100 schools where test scores are low and absenteeism is rampant, Campbell said. The United Way funds after-school programs to help children who are most at risk.

One of the honorees, Anne Limburg, the Northeast division executive for U.S. Trust Bank of America Private Wealth Management, has been involved with the United Way for a number of years. “Particularly today, it critical that we take ownership," she said. "Women want to do the right thing and have the resources to do it.”

Another honoree, Darlane Hoffman, a managing director and chief sourcing officer at Bank of New York Mellon [BK], got involved with the United Way years ago because she saw it as an umbrella organization that vets other groups.

She’s been involved in a number of fundraising drives through the years, she said, but, her proudest moment in her affiliation with United Way was when she was designated as an ombudsman with a charitable group in Kansas. Her goal was “to help everyone understand the importance of philanthropy,” Hoffman said. “I got 90% participation; that was up from 50%.”

Not all of those being awarded came from the financial services industry. Peggy Blumenthal, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Institute of International Education, said her 90-year-old organization’s mission is “to help American young people get international experience.” And the institute, which administers the Fulbright Scholar Program, is striving to get a more diverse group of students to get global experience.

Other honorees included: Kendall Farrell, executive vice president of Bottomless Closet; Arminda Figueroa, president and founder of Latin2Latin Marketing + Communications; Anne Fine Levine, chief financial officer and treasurer of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.; Katherine Hunt-Morr, major account manager of Reuters Media and founder of the Jiamini Scholarship Fund; Sharne´ Jackson, director of Mid-Atlantic Special Events for Macy’s; Wilhelmina Manzano, senior vice-president and chief nursing officer for New York Presbyterian Hospital; Nereida Perez, vice president at National Grid; Dara P. Richardson-Heron, chief executive officer of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure (New York City affiliate); Sylvia Wagner, executive vice president of Human Resources, Assurant; and Sheena Wright, president and CEO of Abyssinian Development Corp.

Check out our LIVE Twitter Feed from the event here

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