First in the Nation effort will provide digital access to Financial Literacy Tools
Franklin Savings Bank has joined a collaborative effort spearheaded by the National Collaborative for Digital Equity to assist low- to moderate-income communities with obtaining access to both digital broadband services and educational resources for students. Other members of the alliance include Sage Sustainable Electronics, Rosen Digital, and EBSCO Information Services. Initially, this venture will provide two computers and 25 subscriptions to financial literacy programs to Franklin High School, the first known use of a bank’s Community Reinvestment Act funding nationwide to support the refurbishment and donation of computers.
“This project has captured the concerns of many individuals throughout the bank as well as stakeholders in the Franklin community,” remarked Ulrike Smith, CRA Officer for Franklin Savings Bank. “I first learned about the National Collaboration for Digital Equity at a summit they hosted last year attended by many concerned about bridging the digital divide. Their partnerships at the federal and state level and with the private sector, through Bob’s tenacious efforts to provide digital equity for everyone, really impressed me.”
Dr. Robert McLaughlin, Executive Director of the National Collaborative for Digital Equity, commented, “It has been an honor to work with Franklin Savings Bank along with our content and refurbishment partners to demonstrate powerful, low-cost, high-impact ways in which banks can use their Community Reinvestment Act funds to make measurable impacts in helping families become economically independent and self-determining. Our partners have all deeply discounted their resources because they share the bank’s and our commitment that economic opportunity is what has made our nation strong and our communities thrive. While this is initially a small pilot, it’s very significant both because it’s a start to providing many more computers for families in Franklin that need them and also because this highlights how other banks nationwide can receive CRA credit for funding refurbishment and donation of their computers too.”
“Our teachers, librarians and I are deeply grateful and heartened by Franklin Savings Bank’s support for our students and their families,” noted Dr. Daniel LeGallo, Franklin School District Superintendent. “We know this is the first step in a long-term initiative in Franklin to bring to our learners key resources needed for educational and economic opportunity, from computers they can use at home to digital educational materials. This will put our students on an equal footing with pupils everywhere.”
As a leader in the market on sustainable IT asset management and disposition, Sage Sustainable Electronics assists businesses with recycling technology products to enable them to be used for other purposes. For this particular project with Franklin Savings Bank, Sage will refurbish, clean and install Windows 10, Microsoft Office, antivirus software, along with EBSCO’s LearningExpress program and a collection of financial literacy training resources from Rosen Digital on the two computers donated to Franklin High School.
Jill Vaske, President of Sage Sustainable Electronics, commented, “We are delighted to join Franklin Savings Bank and NCDE in setting a national precedent for the use of the banks’ Community Reinvestment Act funds to fully refurbish computers, load NCDE’s educational resources, and put them in the hands of lower income families in the community that most need them.”
Rosen Digital, an independent educational publishing house, will provide their financial literacy curriculum for the donated computers. Rosen publishes over 700 new nonfiction titles each year for print and eBooks on several subjects correlated to curriculum standards, including social studies, history, language arts, science and mathematics.
“We’re proud to contribute discounted access to our collection of financial literacy resources, which are geared to the individual’s reading skill level, no matter their age, along with assessments, so the learner can see and earn badges towards their progress in mastering financial literacy skills,” added Roger Rosen, Founder & CEO of Rosen Digital. “In addition, the program will provide the bank with reports on the progress and results that learners are collectively making thanks to Franklin Savings Bank’s investment.”
As part of its role in this collaboration, EBSCO Information Services will provide the LearningExpress library, a suite of highly acclaimed eLearning solutions featuring interactive tutorials, practice tests, eBooks, flashcards and articles for academic skill-building, standardized test prep, career development and more. EBSCO’s highly-acclaimed eLearning solutions are found in over 50% of state libraries.
Greg DiDonato, EBSCO’s VP Sales, added, “The launch of this bank-supported use of our LearningExpress collection represents a watershed moment for us and our banking partners. The collection is a perfect fit for banks using CRA funds for ’economic inclusion’, which is all about helping lower income learners of all ages transition into living-wage careers. Therefore, we’re thrilled that banks can now use this collection to help them achieve their CRA commitments to foster economic inclusion.”
Established in 1869, Franklin Savings Bank is an independent, mutually-owned community bank, offering a full array of commercial lending, personal banking and investment services throughout the Central Lakes Region and southern New Hampshire. Headquartered in Franklin, the Bank has offices in Bristol, Boscawen, Tilton, Gilford, Merrimack and Goffstown, as well as an office in Bedford for business lending. The Bank also offers investment, insurance and financial planning services through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Independence Financial Advisors. As a recognized leader in providing the latest in financial services technology, Franklin Savings Bank remains committed to serving the needs of businesses, families and the communities it serves, through a dedicated team of employees, a diverse line of financial products and services, and continued investment in emerging technology.