PITTSFIELD, MASS, August 18, 2015 – Berkshire Bank today announced that its Foundation has awarded more than $75,000 in grants to two Springfield non-profit organizations. In addition, the Foundation will provide seven public schools with $1,000 grants during the first week of school in surprise announcements. Berkshire Bank employees selected the schools, which are in communities formerly served by Hampden Bank. As part of the announcement, which took place at Washington Elementary School in Springfield, Berkshire Bank employee volunteers were on site assembling backpacks with school supplies for students at that school. Many of the supplies were donated by WB Mason in partnership with Berkshire Bank Foundation.
The grants, which were made in conjunction with Berkshire Bank’s customer appreciation week, highlight the Foundation’s focus on enhancing educational opportunities for students in Springfield.” We recognize that education is a fundamental building block to economic success,” said Lori Gazzillo, Vice President and Director of the Berkshire Bank Foundation. “To achieve college and career readiness, more funding is needed to support results driven programs in the early education arena, so we are pleased to support these initiatives in such a meaningful way.”
Those being funded include:
- Springfield Funders Collaborative for Reading Success received a $60,000 grant. The goal of the Funders Collaborative is to strengthen and advance early literacy skill development in children from birth to age nine, helping to ensure children in Springfield are reading at a proficient level by fourth grade. Organizations and programs supported through the collaborative have proven results in helping to improve reading proficiency. Berkshire Bank is one of the major funders of the initiative along with the Davis Foundation, Community Foundation of Western Mass, and United Way of Pioneer Valley.
- Action Centered Tutoring Services, Inc. (ACTS), a grass roots Springfield non-profit, received a $15,000 grant to support their impactful one-on-one tutoring program. The program matches willing adult volunteers with students at all Springfield elementary schools through nine different sites in the city. The program requires students and tutors to meet once a week at the site for help with their homework, reading and other school subjects during the school year. There is currently a waiting list of interested students who are not being accommodated because of the need for more funding and tutors. As a result, Berkshire has committed to providing pro-bono services, in addition to the grant, to help ACTS recruit additional volunteers.
Click Here to download the images of the check presentations.
Glenn Welch, former President & CEO of Hampden Bank and current EVP of Correspondent Banking at Berkshire Bank stated “Hampden Bank had a long history of involvement and charitable support in our community and those efforts are only stronger through our partnership with Berkshire Bank. Berkshire has an incredible commitment to the community that goes far beyond a sprinkling of charitable dollars. These investments significantly contribute to the economic vitality of the Pioneer Valley region and when combined with their commitment to leveraging their employees’ expertise and time through their corporate volunteer efforts, they are able to create real impact on the community. I’m proud to be part of America’s Most Exciting Bank.”
“I appreciate Berkshire Bank being a good corporate citizen by continuing to give back to our Springfield children. As I have said many a time – The key to cutting down poverty and public safety issues in America is family, education and jobs. Berkshire Banks continued and dedicated efforts help us meet this goal.” added Springfield Mayor Dominick Sarno.
In addition to providing financial support, the XTEAM®, Berkshire Bank’s nationally acclaimed Employee Volunteer Program, provides employees with paid time off to volunteer during regular business hours. In 2014, over 70% of Berkshire Bank’s employees donated more than 40,000 hours of service to benefit community organizations across the bank’s service area. The volunteer program is another way for the bank to give back to the communities it serves.
About Berkshire Bank Foundation
Through foundation grants to nonprofits, scholarships to students, and employee volunteerism, Berkshire Bank is making a difference. Each year the Foundations donates nearly $1.6 million to non-profits in the bank’s footprint and employees provide over 40,000 hours of service —all on the company dime. To learn more about Berkshire Bank Foundation, visit www.berkshirebank.com/community.
About Berkshire Bank
Berkshire Hills Bancorp (NYSE: BHLB) is the parent of Berkshire Bank, America’s Most Exciting Bank®. The Company, recognized for its entrepreneurial approach and distinctive culture, has $7.5 billion in assets and 93 full service branch offices in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and Vermont providing personal and business banking, insurance, and wealth management services. In 2014, Berkshire Bank was named one of Massachusetts Most Charitable Companies by the Boston Business Journal. To learn more, visit www.berkshirebank.com or call 800-773-5601. Berkshire Bank is the official bank of the Boston Bruins coverage on NESN.
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