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Greenfield Savings Bank grants money to local businesses, nonprofits

  • Greenfield Savings Bank RECORDER FILE PHOTO

  • Franklin County’s YMCA in Greenfield is one of the grant recipients from Greenfield Savings Bank and the financial cooperative Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston. RECORDER FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Bre Allore reads to a group of 3- to 5-year-olds in Camp Koala at Hampshire Regional YMCA in Northampton in July. The YMCA was one of the grant recipients from Greenfield Savings Bank and the financial cooperative Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston. FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 11/20/2020 3:26:31 PM
Modified: 11/20/2020 3:26:17 PM

GREENFIELD – Some Franklin and Hampshire county small businesses and nonprofit organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are getting a helping hand in the form of grant money from Greenfield Savings Bank and the financial cooperative Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston.

Andrew Bresciano, Greenfield Savings Bank’s vice president and commercial loan officer, explained Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston launched the Jobs for New England Recovery Grant Program on a first-come, first-served basis and Greenfield Savings Bank was bestowed with $100,000. It was the only local financial institution in Franklin or Hampshire County to tap into the grant pool.

Bresciano said it was decided the $100,000 would go to local businesses in the food service industry, which has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and the bank would dole out another $90,000 for area nonprofits.

“We know that they have been on the front lines,” he said. “We wanted to make sure they had the resources available in order to continue their work and their missions in our counties.”

Bresciano said in honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October), Greenfield Savings Bank  donated $5,000 to Franklin County Children’s Advocacy Center, Hampshire County Children’s Advocacy Center, NELCWIT and Safe Passage, and $15,000 (including an annual contribution) to Tapestry.

Greenfield Savings Bank also donated $5,000 to Cancer Connection, Franklin County’s YMCA, Hampshire Regional YMCA, LifePath, Community Action, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Franklin County Community Meals Program, United Way of Franklin County, United Way of Hampshire County, Montague Catholic Social Ministries, and The United Arc.

Grady Vigneau, CEO of Franklin County’s YMCA in Greenfield, said the money will be used to offset the costs of operating Guided Learning, a program the organization launched at the end of September to help educate youngsters whose parents are uncomfortable with leaving their children at home for remote learning. The program is open to 80 to 85 families and operates Monday through Friday.

“This is a crisis,” Vigneau said. “These families need help.”

He said children in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade are helped in rooms inspected and approved by the state Department of Early Education and Care, and mask-wearing staffers facilitate online learning. Vigneau said Kara Younger, the YMCA’s director of child care, is the program’s architect.

John Howland, the bank’s president and CEO, said Greenfield Savings Bank  recognizes the important role nonprofits play in improving and protecting the quality of life in our community.

“They are under tremendous financial stress due to the difficulties of fundraising now, in addition to experiencing increased operational costs for (personal protective equipment) and other COVID-related expenses,” he said in an email. “We feel a tremendous responsibility to support these institutions and we are proud as an organization to be in a position to do so.”

Twenty local restaurants received $5,000 each of the Jobs for New England Recovery Grant Program money. Bresciano explained the bank established a detailed set of scoring criteria and each of the 60 applicants, not all of which are Greenfield Savings Bank customers, competed on a level playing field. He said said it was decided $5,000 was a large enough sum to make a positive impact and spread the money around.

“It certainly was a tough choice,” Bresciano said about choosing which applicants received money.

He said there are some flexible restrictions on how the eateries can spend the money, which must support the ongoing operation of the business and can fund the purchase of personal protective equipment and keep employees on payroll.

Bresciano said eateries are approaching a tough season, as the cold weather will prevent them from having outdoor dining.

Joe’s Café at 33 Market St. in Northampton was one of the $5,000 recipients. Meaghan Sullivan, who has been an owner since 2011, said the money helped “offset a couple of COVID-related costs.”

“It’s very helpful,” she said.

Sullivan said Joe’s, which opened in 1938, installed an air ionization system throughout the restaurant and purchased a printer to aid the online ordering system with the increase of internet orders the eatery has had since the pandemic started. Sullivan also said the money helped offset the cost of heating the outdoor dining area during the fall.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.




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