Needham Bank 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.
Wellesley School Superintendent Dr. David Lussier 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.”
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.”