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Needham Bank provides METCO funding

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Needham Bank today announced that it will provide a total of $25,000 in funding, spread among five school districts serving six local communities, to enable them to continue full METCO participation during the 2016-2017 school year.

METCO, which has been in existence since 1966, is the country’s oldest continuously operating voluntary desegregation program. It facilitates opportunities for inner city youth to attend suburban schools. The program was hit with significant spending cuts recently as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts struggled to balance its budget.

“When we came forward to support our community’s METCO programs last year, the impact was immense. With the addition of another METCO school district in Natick, where we’ve opened a new branch office, we wanted to continue and expand our support,” said Mark Whalen, Needham Bank’s Chief Executive Officer. “METCO’s stated purpose is to decrease racial isolation and increase diversity. We whole-heartedly believe in those goals and wanted to provide tangible evidence of our community commitment.”

Six communities in Boston’s MetroWest suburbs will benefit from the funding – Natick, Needham, Dover, Sherborn (as part of the Dover-Sherborn Regional School District), Wellesley and Westwood.

Westwood Public Schools Superintendent and Needham Bank Advisory Council Member John Antonucci was equally positive regarding Needham Bank’s support: “Lots of companies talk about thinking globally and acting locally, but I think this is one of those rare cases where that is precisely what is happening. This funding will have an immediate, measurable impact on all of our students’ lives.”

Needham School Superintendent, Dan Gutekanst, commented, "The Needham schools are immensely excited to partner with Needham Bank to strengthen and enrich the METCO program and our Boston resident student experience. The extraordinary commitment of Needham Bank to support our METCO students is another example of the Bank's ongoing involvement and dedication to our communities and the young people we serve. We appreciate their continued financial support."

Wellesley School Superintendent Dr. David Lussier also praised the Bank’s approach: “METCO is an important component of our overall academic program in Wellesley and to have the public support of a community-minded business like Needham Bank is significant.”

Dover-Sherborn Interim Superintendent William H. McAlduff, Jr. said “Once again Needham Bank's extraordinary commitment to the community will allow our METCO students to continue to participate in Dover-Sherborn community activities as well as in state-wide conferences that promote academic excellence and diversity. Thank you!”

Wellesley local METCO Director, Kalise Worum, echoed the local superintendents’ sentiments. “On behalf of all of the participating METCO Directors, I can’t tell you how pleased we are that Needham Bank has decided to do this again,” she said. “It is like an answer to a prayer.”

METCO – officially the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity – has provided tens of thousands of Massachusetts students a chance to experience a more diverse educational setting.

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