Business Monday ETC: April 18, 2022

Florence Bank donates to hoop shrine

Florence Bank donated $100,000 to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to support its multi-phase, multi-year renovation. New and ongoing 50% admission discounts will be one benefit for bank customers.

The savings for those who use their Florence Bank debit card for admittance to the museum is recent and will be an ongoing benefit of the long-term partnership the bank has with the hall of fame. The discount will be in effect during this school vacation week.

The collaboration between the bank and museum began roughly a decade ago with a Florence Bank ATM at the hall of fame.

“We want to do our best to make sure we are taking care of the community. That’s one of the goals that we’ve had in working with Florence Bank, and we’re trying to amplify it,” said John L. Doleva, president and CEO of the hoop hall. “Florence Bank’s partnership with the hall of fame has played a crucial role in getting us where we are today.”

Michael Pietrzak, director of partnerships, said the bank’s gift of $100,000 came in phases over the past five years, with the final $20,000 gift made recently.

“The unique thing about the basketball hall of fame is that it’s a global brand, recognized all across the world, with visitors from China and Australia. Yet, we have strong partners here in the community,” Pietrzak said. “Our relationship with Florence Bank is on the top of the list.”

“Florence Bank was founded on the principle of neighbors helping neighbors,” said bank president and CEO Kevin Day. “The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is one of our neighbors and an economic driver in our community. If you haven’t visited since it reopened, I encourage you to stop by—and use your Florence Bank debit card to enjoy the discounted admission.”

Rome partners for day of giving to HCC

Auto dealer Gary Rome is partnering for a second year with the Holyoke Community College Foundation for a one-day campaign to raise money for student support programs and scholarships at the college. The “Together HCC: Drive to Change Lives” campaign is set for April 26 and will run a full 24 hours, from 12:01 am to midnight.

Donations can be made through a secure portal on the HCC website:

Rome, owner of Gary Rome Hyundai in Holyoke, pledged a challenge donation of $5,000 once 300 donors make a gift to the campaign.

“My father always said, ‘Gary, your education is something no one can take away,’” said Rome, a member of the foundation’s board. “This is why I am so passionate about making sure a college education is accessible to everyone. I am honored to again be a part of ‘Together HCC: Drive to Change Lives.’ This one day, working together, we really can make a difference.”

Additionally, alum Peg Wendlandt, a member of the Class of 1958, and her husband, Gary, will supplement each gift from new donors with a $250 donation of their own. Altogether, the one-day campaign has the potential to unlock more than $131,000 in matching donations.

“HCC alumni and friends have made challenge gifts that will enable donors to have an even greater impact,” said Julie Phillips, coordinator of alumni relations and annual giving. “Gifts can be doubled, even tripled on this day. With 40,000 alumni nationwide, we can have a direct and massive impact on our students.”

In its first year, the campaign raised $40,000 for the President’s Student Emergency Fund and was selected as a finalist for a national Bellwether award. Last year, with Rome signed on, HCC added the “Drive to Change Lives” theme and raised more than $122,000 for student support programs.

Less honored by doctors

State Sen. Eric P. Lesser, D-Longmeadow, was recognized by the Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians as the organization’s annual Legislative Champion of Family Medicine.

The award was presented as a part of 2022 Family Medicine Advocacy Day. It recognized, according to the academy, Lesser’s “leadership on health care policy, appreciation for the role of family medicine in the overall health care delivery system, and effectiveness in the legislative and policy-making arenas.” It noted his having sponsored the workforce development bill and “his inclusive approach to public policy.”

“We owe a debt of gratitude to our frontline community doctors, who, despite how central family medicine is, face growing challenges on a systemic level with insurance reimbursement, provider availability, and burnout from two years of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said lesser “As the son of a family doctor, I understand and am committed to addressing the challenges that our doctors face in our backyards, especially as it intersects with social justice.”

“The Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians is proud to honor Senator Eric Lesser as the 2022 Legislative Champion of Family Medicine,” said Dr. Emily Chin, president of the academy.Senator Lesser’s understanding of the health care system as a whole, and his understanding and appreciation of the important role that family physicians play is notable. We appreciate his thoughtful approach to public policy and look forward to our continued partnership in pursuit of important legislative outcomes.”

Monson Savings celebrates 150

To commemorate Monson Savings Bank’s incorporation on March 27, 1872, the bank recently held a 150th anniversary reception at its branch in Monson.

President and CEO Dan Moriarty thanked many for their support of Monson Savings over the years, including customers, employees, corporators, and trustees.

Moriarty said the original objective of the bank was “to enable all persons to invest earnings as they may choose, in a manner that will afford them security and profit.” He added, “One of the benefits of a community bank is educational, to enable parents and guardians to cultivate savings habits and those for whom they care. The bank has stayed true to its roots.”

State Sen. Anne Gobi, D-Spencer, and State Rep. Brian M. Ashe, D-Longmeadow, were among dignitaries, including professionals, government officials, and community members, who attended the reception.

Past presidents Neil Marshall and Steve Lowell, who is now chairman of the board, joined Moriarty and executive vice president Michael Rouette for the celebratory event.

“We were very happy and proud to welcome members of the community to come celebrate our 150th anniversary with us,” said Moriarty. “For any business to reach a 150-year milestone is impressive, but it is almost unheard of for a bank to remain mutually independent and to not have gone through a merger for 150 years.”

To learn more about the bank’s anniversary, its historical timeline and to view a schedule of events visit the website,

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