|April 9, 2012|
HOLYOKE PeoplesBank has announced a historic milestone for the 127-year-old institution. For the first time in its history, the bank contributed more than $1 million to local charitable and civic causes.
"We are focused on the possible," Douglas A. Bowen, president and CEO, said. "We feel it is possible to create a better community through our charitable giving and volunteer efforts. It is something that we are very passionate about and it is this passion that makes us who we are."
In a year marked by the widespread devastation caused by the June 2011 tornado, the bulk of the bank's charitable giving went toward human services. PeoplesBank, called a "First Responder" by one local non-profit executive, committed $200,000 for tornado relief efforts in the aftermath of the storm. Keeping to its track record of supporting environmentally friendly initiatives, $80,000 of that commitment was spent on re-greening five of the impacted communities, including $40,000 for Springfield alone to help them return to their former status of "Tree City USA."
The bank also made substantial contributions to education, including a greenhouse for the students of the Leverett Elementary School.
"We had been looking around for different ways to try and raise enough money to build a greenhouse, which is a fairly large expenditure," Suzie Chang, a volunteer and parent at the school, said. "So we were especially excited and thrilled that PeoplesBank decided to make a leadership gift of this size, because it enabled us to just go ahead and do the entire project. For me as a mom, it's wonderful to know that my kids have this incredible opportunity and this gorgeous, gorgeous space."
According to Bowen, direct financial contributions are not the only way the bank is making a difference in Western Massachusetts.
"Writing a check is not the whole story. At PeoplesBank, we are actively encouraging and facilitating volunteerism. Our employees want to have a direct hand in helping the community. In fact, they were ranked third in the state for most generous employees and fourth for volunteer hours donated.," Bowen said.
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