WESTFIELD BANK ANNOUNCES MAJOR COMMITMENT TO SPRINGFIELD URBAN LEAGUE IN SUPPORT OF CAMP ATWATER CENTENNIAL CAPITAL CAMPAIGN
Westfield, MA — Westfield Bank President & CEO, James C. Hagan, presented Springfield Urban League CEO, Henry M. Thomas III, with a $100,000 contribution to help launch a $7.5 million capital campaign to ensure the future of historic Camp Atwater.
“This contribution represents our firm commitment to the Urban League as it reimagines and reinvigorates an invaluable Massachusetts institution that has played such an important role in the lives of Black youth in Western Massachusetts and beyond for a century,” said Mr. Hagan. “Westfield Bank is very proud to come on board at this time of the campaign and we encourage other corporations, foundations, and individuals to join us in supporting Camp Atwater’s centennial. Creating opportunities for young people the way that Camp Atwater has done for decades is more essential than ever and the Bank is excited to play a role in bringing this project to life.”
“On behalf of the Springfield Urban League, Camp Atwater, and our thousands of alumni and families, I want to thank Westfield Bank for stepping up so generously at this early juncture,” said Mr. Thomas. “Westfield Bank has always been a staunch supporter of the Urban League and we are sincerely grateful to them for this terrific early lead investment in the campaign and their ongoing partnership with us as we strive to create a more equitable and just society.”
The Urban League has owned and operated Camp Atwater, located on 80+ acres of land in North Brookfield, since 1921, making it the longest operating Black owned summer camp in the nation. In its many years of service, Camp Atwater has had a profoundly positive impact on the lives and careers of the vast majority of the Camp’s more than 55,000 alumni.
Galvanized by the needs of the Black community in Massachusetts and beyond, the Urban League is embarking on the $7.5 million Centennial Campaign to reimagine and reconfigure Camp Atwater so that it may continue as a foundational experience for campers for the next hundred years. Already recognized for its significance by being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Urban League is seeking to capitalize on the opportunity for Atwater to provide the preeminent camp experience for the African American community, and to develop ongoing generations of leaders by providing a unique blend of enriching programs and activities within a setting that is at once nurturing and challenging, while fostering self-discovery and growth.
With Westfield Bank’s support, as well as that of other early donors, significant work on the Camp’s buildings and grounds is scheduled to begin this summer and continue onward so that Atwater can welcome overnight campers back in the summer of 2023.
About the Springfield Urban League and Camp Atwater
The Urban League of Springfield, Inc., serves the African American Community in Greater Springfield by advocating for and providing model services that enhance the academic and social development of young people and families, promoting economic self-sufficiency, and fostering racial inclusion and social justice.
Camp Atwater is a historic youth development and mentoring summer residential program. The camp, founded in 1921, was initially created to provide recreational opportunities for African American children of families who had moved to Springfield, Massachusetts from the south. The camp soon became a favorite among young African Americans who enjoyed the serene environment, free from judgement, prying eyes, racism, and segregation. The camp also created jobs for African Americans and made it possible for the African American community to create a stronger bond and network. It is the oldest African American-owned and operated camp in the United States and the only camp listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Today, the camp serves African American and other underrepresented families throughout Massachusetts (Atwater is located 1 hour from New England’s second and fourth-largest cities, Worcester and Springfield, respectively) and beyond. Set on 80+ acres of lakefront in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, Atwater has served over 55,000 youth since its inception. It remains true to the Urban League’s mission by offering a quality residential camp experience within a safe, nurturing and Afrocentric environment.
About Westfield Bank
Westfield Bank, headquartered in Westfield, Massachusetts, is a federally chartered savings bank organized in 1853 and is the largest publicly traded bank headquartered in Western Massachusetts. The Bank is a full-service community-oriented financial institution offering a complete range of commercial and retail products and services. Currently, the Bank has twenty-five branch offices, fifty-one ATMs, and an additional thirty seasonal ATMs and serves Hampden and Hampshire counties in Western Massachusetts and Hartford and Tolland counties in Northern Connecticut. The Bank’s middle market and commercial real estate lending team is based in Springfield, Massachusetts, and has a general regulatory limit on loans to one borrower of $37.1 million. As of March 31, 2022, the Bank employed 331 full and part-time employees, had $2.6 billion in total assets, $1.9 billion in its loan portfolio, and $2.3 billion in total deposits. The Bank is regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. As a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Bank’s deposits are insured up to the maximum FDIC insurance coverage limits. To learn more, visit the bank’s website at www.westfieldbank.com
Pictured from left to right: Westfield Bank President & CEO James C. Hagan, Urban League CEO Henry M. Thomas III, Dee Thomas, and Yvette Frisby, Urban League Senior Vice President of Administrative Services and Youth Development.