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Eastern Bank Lends a Helping Hand to UMass Lowell Student-Veterans

$50,000 Grant Supports New Fund to Assist Vets, Their Families in Times of Crisis

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Eastern Bank recently awarded $50,000 to UMass Lowell to create The Veterans Fund, a new zero-percent loan program to assist student-veterans and their families.

08/04/2016

Media contacts: Christine Gillette, UMass Lowell, 978-934-2209 or Christine_Gillette@uml.edu and Andy Ravens, Eastern Bank, 617-413-7524 or a.ravens@easternbank.com 

LOWELL, Mass. – UMass Lowell student-veterans balancing the pursuit of a college education and caring for families will now have a new means of support, thanks to the generosity of Eastern Bank and its employee-run Military Veterans and Families Network. 

The Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation recently awarded $50,000 to UMass Lowell’s Office of Veterans Services for The Veterans Fund, which will provide zero-percent loans to student-veterans facing financial crises. UMass Lowell has the largest population of student-veterans among colleges and universities in Massachusetts. 

The university received the funding through the foundation’s “targeted grants” program, which this year elected to support organizations that assist families in crisis in regaining their equilibrium, including military families. The grants range from $10,000 to $50,000. Last year, the foundation awarded more than 2,000 grants totaling nearly $7 million to nonprofits in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

“We are grateful to Eastern Bank for its investment in UMass Lowell’s commitment to the success of our students,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney. “Student-veterans, many of whom are nontraditional students with families, face unique challenges as they make the transition from military to civilian life. We thank the bank and its foundation for their support of this special group.”

“We commend UMass Lowell for its unwavering commitment to student-veterans,” said Laura Kurzrok, Executive Director of the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation. “Through our Foundation and Eastern Bank’s Military Veterans and Families Network, we are committed to supporting our veterans and their families. We are very grateful to our employee network, which introduced us to UMass Lowell and its Office of Veterans Services.” 

UMass Lowell, which has more than 1,200 student-veterans enrolled, has seen numbers climb in recent years with the increase in former military personnel using the G.I. Bill and other benefits to attend college. To expand and centralize services for this group of students, UMass Lowell opened its Office of Veterans Services in 2011 and relocated it to a larger space in the new University Crossing student-engagement center in 2014. The office will administer the new loan program.

“This very generous gift from Eastern Bank allows UMass Lowell to provide student-veterans with additional resources when they face financial crises, enabling them to continue to pursue academic, professional and personal success,” said Janine Wert, UMass Lowell director of veterans services, adding that many of the student-veterans she works with are determined to graduate and give back to their communities.

“Thanks to the grant from Eastern Bank, student-veterans in need of emergency assistance can focus on their studies and their families without the distraction of financial stress,” said Marc Fountain, a psychology major from Andover who serves as president of UMass Lowell’s Student Veterans Organization. 

Eastern’s charitable foundation worked with the bank’s Military and Veterans Family Employee Network to choose UMass Lowell’s Office of Veteran Services to receive the grant in recognition of the university’s outstanding accomplishments and track record in preparing student-veterans for success in their new civilian careers, said Steve Diprete, a co-chair of Eastern’s Military and Veterans Family Employee Network. 

“UMass Lowell’s Office of Veterans Services is perfectly aligned with the mission and focus of our employee network at Eastern Bank,” said Diprete. “I can’t tell you how thrilled we are to recognize this successful model for our student vets.” 

“Over the last year I’ve come to know Janine Wert both professionally and personally,” said Michael Uretsky, co-chair of Eastern’s Military and Veterans Family Employee Network. “You simply won’t find a more committed and resourceful advocate for veteran students and one who uniquely understands a veteran’s complex needs. As a result, in my opinion, our veterans leave UMass Lowell with the best foundation for success in a career, not just a job following their active-duty service. Sadly, this is no easy task, but UMass Lowell and Janine are creating bright futures for our veterans.” 

About Eastern Bank
Founded in 1818 and based in Boston, Eastern Bank is the largest and oldest mutual bank in the United States, with $10 billion in assets and nearly 100 branches serving communities in eastern Massachusetts and southern and coastal New Hampshire. Eastern Bank offers banking, investments and insurance all under one roof, and prides itself on working harder to understand its customers’ needs so it can deliver these services in a committed and personal way.  Eastern Bank, which includes Eastern Wealth Management and Eastern Insurance, is a recognized leader in corporate social responsibility and for its advocacy on behalf of a number of social justice causes. For more information, visit: www.easternbank.com, www.facebook.com/easternbank or www.twitter.com/easternbank

About UMass Lowell
UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its 17,500 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers. www.uml.edu