Education is one of the greatest investments a society can make in its communities. As President and CEO of BayCoast Bank, I am proud of our long track record of providing significant financial and logistical support to a wide range of educational initiatives in our communities, demonstrating our commitment to the people we serve.
For us, supporting educational initiatives is nothing new – we have supported local public, parochial, vocational, private and charter schools, in addition to non-profit organizations, and local colleges and universities, including the Bristol Community College and the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth for years. While supporting education has always been a priority for BayCoast Bank, in 2017 we made the decision to make a major investment in this priority and focused the majority of our marketing budget – nearly $500,000 – on general promotion of education throughout the region. Additionally, over the next four years, we have provided over $2 million to support a variety of scholarships, programs, and initiatives that aim to expand academic success specifically on the South Coast.
These investments were made in collaboration with key stakeholders. Many of our staff members serve on school boards and committees in many districts and schools, lending their expertise and working with local school leaders. Together with the One Southcoast Chamber, we’ve partnered with local school leaders and the Massachusetts Teachers Association to host and fund regional professional development trainings and summits to provide teachers with the tools to support their students. to learn and succeed. We recognize the important role that educators play in our society, we are proud of our collaborations with these many organizations, and we value the distinct perspectives that we all come to understand by working together.
In this time of discord, we think it’s important to remember that we all share common ground. We all agree that expanding access to early college programs is key to advancing educational opportunities and positive outcomes for our young people – in fact, over the past few months we have donated $25,000 at Bristol Community College to help them expand early access to college at Durfee High School in Fall River, and we applaud and support New Bedford’s application to DESE to expand early access to college for their secondary school students. We all want the best for our students.
We recognize, however, that our involvement in the Innovators Charter School project has become a distraction to this consensus. Accordingly, I have resigned as Vice President and Board Member of the proposed school, and we have removed all BayCoast employees from serving on the board of this proposed entity. Also, at this stage, we will refrain from any further discussion, advocacy or involvement with the proposed school.
Our core business is serving the banking needs of our community, which we have done since our first charter in 1851. We remain steadfast in our commitment to helping our communities. Providing more opportunity through our broad support of educational initiatives is something we intend to continue because it is the right thing to do.
Nicholas M. Christ
President and CEO