Focus on COVID19 Relief and Inequality Issues among Youth
Biddeford, Maine—July 21, 2020—Maine Community Bank President and CEO Jeanne Hulit announced Wednesday the bank, and its Biddeford Savings and Mechanics Savings divisions, has created a charitable foundation to unite and support the communities they serve. “Both Biddeford Savings and Mechanics Savings have been strong community supporters for generations. The Biddeford and Mechanics Savings Charitable Foundation is structured to give back to the communities in a larger, more enduring way,” Hulit explained.
“I am very pleased that the bank has chosen to create the Biddeford and Mechanics Savings Charitable Foundation. The two founding banks have long histories of serving their communities and donating time and resources,” noted Wayne Sherman, newly named Chair of the Foundation. “In this unprecedented time of need, it is appropriate for the combined bank to take a leadership role in supporting the communities they serve. This Foundation shows Maine Community Bank’s commitment to meet those needs.”
The Foundation’s mission is to help individuals and families in the bank’s local communities meet their basic needs and achieve financial empowerment.
In support of this long-term mission, the Foundation will concentrate on two immediate goals. The first is to provide support to families and individuals in our communities who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19. The COVID-19 Relief Fund will concentrate on health, housing, and hunger.
The second goal is helping the next generation overcome issues of inequality and build unity across lines of differences in our communities. The Foundation has identified two programs that support our youth by providing safe spaces and encouraging acceptance of diversity in their areas: Tree Street Youth Center in Lewiston and the Maine Youth Action Network (MYAN) in Biddeford. The Foundation awarded $5,000 to each organization to support their work with youth in diverse populations.
Julia Sleeper, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Tree Street Youth said Mechanics Savings has long been a supporter of the work of Tree Street and that the $5,000 comes at a critical time. “COVID has changed everything for us. We work primarily with new Americans. These are kids who arrive as asylum seekers or refugees.” Sleeper explained. “Our program gives them not only a safe place to go, but an opportunity to expand their minds and express themselves through academics, arts, and sports.”
Michael Forst, Director of The Maine Youth Action Network in Biddeford, a program of Opportunity Alliance, says the $5,000 is a huge boost for a new project at Biddeford High School. “This commitment will help us launch two important programs: racial equity and suicide prevention. These are two big concerns during troubling times,” Forst said. “If we want to see solid, positive change in our communities, we must begin with our young people. We appreciate that Biddeford Savings not only understands this but is doing something about it.”