By Michelle Murdock, Contributing Writer
Region – In this day and age, schools, community groups and other nonprofits are constantly searching for ways to fund their noble goals and missions. Many times, it is banks located in their communities who step up and provide the funds, often with little fanfare, to help the groups achieve those goals. But giving back to the communities they serve is something that banks like St. Mary’s Credit Union, Central One Federal Credit Union, Marlborough Savings Bank, Webster Five Cents Savings Bank, Clinton Savings Bank and Avidia Bank feel is central to their way of doing business.
At St. Mary’s Credit Union, based in Marlborough with branches in that city as well as in Hudson, Northborough, and Westborough, charitable giving can reach over $100,000 per year.
“We’ve always had an affinity for the communities we do business with,” said Anthony Battista, vice president of marketing. “We feel we have an obligation to contribute to the quality of life in those communities.”
Battista said that the bank tries to support as many nonprofits as they can, but requests are evaluated on the benefit they bring to the overall community, with requests that benefit the most viewed more favorably. Two examples include donations for the Marlborough Hospital Cancer Pavilion and the Boys and Girls Clubs of MetroWest. The credit union is a member of the hospital’s “President’s Circle,” a group of local businesses and philanthropic leaders who are committed to supporting health care for community members. At the Boys and Girls Clubs, the grant money from St. Mary’s helps to fund scholarships for afterschool and summer programs and is earmarked for low- to moderate-income families who otherwise could not afford to send their children to these activities.
“St. Mary’s Credit Union has been an outstanding supporter of the Boys and Girls Clubs of MetroWest for many, many years. St. Mary’s directly supports our program activities for our kids, as well as donating to, and participating in, all of our events throughout the year. St. Mary’s is a wonderful partner because we know we can count on them every year,” said Fran Hurley, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of MetroWest.
Since the inception of its community charter in 1998, Central One Federal Credit Union has donated over $750,000 to local communities. In 2000, the Central One charitable wing was established when the main branch moved to Main Street in Shrewsbury.
According to Marketing Manager Zachary Daniels, over the past few years Central One has averaged approximately $95,000 in donations to local communities. The bank also has branches in Northborough, Shrewsbury, Westborough and Auburn.
“Central One is committed to supporting and strengthening our field of membership and making it a better place to visit, work, and live,” Daniels said.
Two of the largest grants recently awarded were $25,000 to the Shrewsbury Public Library and $20,000 to the Shrewsbury High School Athletic Program.
“As the marketing manager, I find the most rewarding part of the Central One donations is when many nonprofits and individuals take the time to send a personalized ‘thank you’ to Central One,” Daniels noted. “Their story or direct impact from the money they received makes the whole process very satisfying.”
At Marlborough Savings Bank, donations are handled by the bank’s charitable foundation which was founded in April 2011 and pays out 5 percent of its net assets annually.
“Currently about $50,000 and growing!” said Ellen Dorian, executive vice president of retail banking at Marlborough Savings.
“The mission of the Marlborough Savings Charitable Foundation is to support not-for-profit organizations operating in the communities in which Marlborough Savings Bank serves, as a way of adding to the quality of life for people living in the community with a focus on education, health and human services, youth programs and affordable housing,” said Dorian. “Additionally, the bank itself donates thousands of dollars each year to many school, civic, community, sports and elder programs. Our employees also play a role with countless hours dedicated to volunteerism. We understand how important local businesses like us are to our local economy and the overall well-being of our community and as a mutual savings bank since 1860, we are committed to doing our part.”
The largest grant awarded to date, a $125,000 five-year grant, went to the Marlborough Hospital Cancer Pavilion. Also receiving grants from Marlborough Savings are the 15-40 Connection, Employments Options, the Boys and Girls Club of MetroWest and nine local parent-teacher organizations. A total of $205,285 has been awarded since the creation of the Marlborough Savings Charitable Foundation.
According to the Webster Five Cents Savings Bank website, “Webster Five always has been, and always will be, involved in charitable and civic efforts to better our community. That’s the reason we developed the Webster Five ‘Web of Caring to Make a Difference’- a way for our bank as a whole, and our employees as individuals, to make a positive impact and difference in the communities we serve.”
In 2013, the Webster Five Foundation distributed more than $149,356 in donations and grants to local organizations and charities.
According to Marketing Manager Holly Deslauriers, the largest grant awarded by Webster Five was $100,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of Webster-Dudley and the total dollars awarded since the creation of the charitable organization in 2000 is over $2 million.
“We are extremely grateful for Webster Five’s support to increase our level of early childhood mental health assistance; all the children at our facility will benefit from this,” said Edward P. Madaus, executive director of The Guild of St. Agnes.
Money is donated only to not-for-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations that are based in or will directly benefit Webster Five’s delineated community. Types of organizations supported include youth, senior, health and social services and repeat requests for the same project or program is discouraged, and if submitted, should be well documented.
“Through our annual United Way Campaign, $55,296 was contributed by employees and the bank to the United Way of Webster and Dudley and the United Way of Central Massachusetts. Over 90 percent of our employees participated in this philanthropic campaigna true testament to the bank’s culture and commitment to giving back to our community. Webster Five is strengthening its ongoing commitment to participate in programs that service, upgrade, improve, and revitalize all areas of our communityincluding those that are underserved or in need,” said Deslauriers.
“We are also dedicated to meeting the housing needs of all, including those of low and moderate incomes. There are 45 Webster Five employees who volunteer their time or serve on the boards of various organizations. Webster Five was also a proud recipient of the United Way’s Stoddard Award. This award is the highest honor the United Way bestows on an organization in recognition of outstanding leadership through exceptional employees campaigns and strong volunteer representation,” she added.
The charitable foundation at Avidia Bank was established in 1997 and has awarded a total of $1,811,886 since its inception. The bank is headquartered in Hudson, with branches in that town as well as Westborough, Marlborough, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Clinton and Leominster. The foundation is funded by the bank and investments by the foundation provide the growth.
“Our focus is on helping those organizations who provide valuable service and services to a broad-based constituency in the communities we serve,” said Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Ken Simms. “Between the bank and the Avidia Charitable Foundation we contribute over $250,000 per year.”
The largest grant awarded to date by Avidia went to the Marlborough Hospital Cancer Pavilion and totaled $125,000 with a commitment over a five-year period. Other grant recipients include The Boroughs YMCA, the Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest and Fitchburg/Leominster, the Hudson-Maynard Adult Learning Center and Leominster Hospital.
At Clinton Savings Bank, giving back to the community has always been a priority, which is why the bank and the Clinton Savings Charitable Foundation donates approximately $30,000 each year to a variety of local organizations. Since 2000, when the foundation was created, nearly $250,000 has been awarded.
“Every year we offer seven $1,000 scholarships to local high school students,” said Assistant Vice President and Marketing Manager Kristin Zirkel, “as well as summer programs for children in need, arts foundations and the 2014 Bolton 5k Rally. This year the beneficiary was the Robert F. Kennedy Children Action Corp (Lancaster Campus), which helps up to 100 at-risk children.”
The largest grant awarded by Clinton Savings Bank totaled $100,000 plus an additional $25,000 to the Clinton Hospital. As stated in the hospital’s press release, Clinton Savings Bank President and CEO Robert J. Paulhus Jr. said, “The strength of a community is best measured by how its members help one another. Whether it is giving a neighbor a hand on a home project or business owners supporting local nonprofits, the interaction and assistance local residents give one another is critical to a community. As the region’s community bank, part of Clinton Savings Bank’s mission is to do what we can to strengthen the community and make it a great place to live and work. As residents, we know the value of having an outstanding medical facility in our area, so as a business, we wanted to make sure we did our part to support the hospital’s campaign.”
In most cases, grants at all of the banks mentioned are awarded on a rolling basis throughout the year. At Central One Federal Credit Union, scholarships are awarded in May of each year. Nonprofits can request a contribution by visiting www.Centralfcu.com and under the “About Us” tab you will find the “Request Contribution” tab. Completed forms should be sent to your local Central One branch.
At Marlborough Savings Bank, interested nonprofits should contact Ellen Dorian 508-460-4153 or [email protected] for a letter of invitation which outlines the grant parameters.
At St. Mary’s Credit Union, for information about charitable giving, contact Chantal Zeh 508-490-6775 or [email protected]. Requests should be mailed to:
St. Mary’s Credit Union
ATT: Chantal Zeh
PO Box 729
293 Boston Post Road West
Marlborough, MA 01752
At Webster Five Cents Savings Bank, grant requests are reviewed quarterly, typically on the second Thursday of January, April, July and October. Requests should be received by the 15th of the preceding month. Applications and questions should be directed to Sam Bitar, executive director at 800-696-9401 or [email protected].
Mr. Sam Bitar, Executive Director
Webster Five Foundation
10 A Street
Auburn, MA 01501
At Avidia Bank, the foundation reviews requests and awards grants on a quarterly basis. Applicants can apply online via the bank’s website – https://www.avidiabank.com/.
And at Clinton Savings Bank, where grants are awarded on a rolling basis or any time, nonprofits located or serving in Berlin, Bolton, Boylston, Clinton, Sterling or West Boylston can apply online at http://www.clintonsavings.com/experience-csb/contributions.html.