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United Bank Foundation awards $67,000 to local organizations

WEST SPRINGFIELD The United Bank Foundation awarded grants totaling $67,000 to a variety of activities and organizations in area communities in its most recent round of funding, according to Dena Hall, president of the foundation. A $2,500 foundation gift to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Westfield will be used to support upgrades for the Club Tech Technology Center. A gift of $1,000 was awarded to Stanley Park of Westfield to help build a multi-purpose children's pavilion adjacent to the ADA Children's Playground at the park. The YMCA of Greater Westfield will use its $2,500 from the foundation toward repairs and renovations to the Camp Shepard swimming pool and bathhouse. Amelia Park Children's Museum in Westfield received $1,500 from the foundation to support its Penguin Plunge event to raise funds for museum exhibits. The public schools in Ludlow and West Springfield will benefit from a total of $8,000 awarded by the foundation. A grant of $5,000 was made in support of the Terriers Around Town fundraiser to benefit the arts programs in West Springfield schools. Ludlow Public Schools will use its $3,000 award to expand the literacy closets at the elementary school, with a focus on non-fiction books. Square One in Springfield received a grant of $5,000 to extend access for low-income families to early education and care programs. The foundation's gift of $5,000 to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts will support the delivery of fresh and non-perishable food to emergency feeding sites. A total of $5,000 was awarded to WestMass ElderCare to help fund transportation subsidies, home-delivered meals and translation/interpretation services for low-income elders in Holyoke, South Hadley, Chicopee and surrounding areas. An award of $3,000 was made to the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity, toward the construction of a single-family home on Albermarle Street in Springfield. A foundation grant of $4,000 will cover the cost of materials needed for the assessment center at the Willie Ross School for the Deaf in Longmeadow, helping prepare young adults to become productive members of the workforce upon graduation. The Association of Community Living will use its $5,000 award from the United Bank foundation to support the New Families Program in its People with Autism Division. A $1,000 award was made to the Cancer House of Hope, to fund the weekly All Cancers Support Group in Westfield and Springfield. The Western Massachusetts Enterprise Fund received a $3,000 foundation grant in support of its mission to provide loans and technical assistance to small and emerging businesses and organizations. Among the awards made during the first quarterly round of funding for 2010 was a $500 contribution to the American Red Cross Hampshire Franklin Chapter's fund for Northampton fire victims. The United Bank Foundation awarded more than $346,000 to community initiatives in 2009, and a total of $1,144,000 in grants since the foundation was established in 2005 as a permanent source of funding to benefit communities in the bank's market area. Funding emphasizes four primary areas: education, health and human services, youth programs and cultural programs. Foundation information, funding guidelines and application forms are available at bankatunited.com.

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