Santander Bank Brings Important Financial Education Message to Two Area Elementary Schools; Announces Grant to Local Nonprofit Group WePAC for its ‘Good Work’ in West Philadelphia
West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC) recognized for its efforts with city schools’ library program
PHILADELPHIA, March 13, 2017 – Students of Samuel Gompers and James Rhoads Elementary Schools received “never-too-early” lessons recently about the importance of money and the benefits that saving it can bring, provided by local representatives from Santander Bank.
The Santander employees read money/savings-related books – Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday, Bunny Money, and My Rows and Piles of Coins – to the students and led discussion with them during the Library Café sessions.
Library Cafes are in-school-time forums at which guest speakers and readers expose children to new ideas and possibilities by tying together real world experiences with literature.
The Library Cafe at Rhoads Elementary took on added significance when Santander officials used the event to present a $10,000 check to the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC). The nonprofit organization hosts the Library Café program and operates 14 volunteer-run public elementary school libraries, most of them in West Philadelphia.
Presenting the $10,000 grant to WePAC Board President Ruth Brader and Executive Director Heather Farber, Santander representatives Tony Calvaresi (SVP, Government Banking) and Daniel Fritz (VP, Business Banking) noted that Santander’s Charitable Contributions Program is an effort to partner with organizations such as WePAC that make a measurable difference in the lives of low- and moderate-income individuals and communities.
Ms. Brader called the grant “an impressive endorsement of the WePAC program, and the work our volunteers do, day in, day out, in support of the program.”
The financial literacy component of the Library Café events, at which Santander Bank is participating,” Ms. Brader pointed out, “fits into the financial education component of the Bank’s focus area.”
“WePAC shares Santander’s commitment to building brighter futures for children by giving them the skills they need to be successful,” said Gwen Robinson, director, Corporate Social Responsibility for Santander Bank. “Providing financial education early is key to that success. Elementary school kids are at the perfect age to start learning about money and saving.”
WePAC (www.wepac.org) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the joy of reading back to schools by operating volunteer-run school library programs. It is the only organization in Philadelphia working systematically to re-open closed libraries and bring library programming back to schools.
“The vast majority of Philadelphia’s public schools lack a functioning library due to
budgetary constraints,” explained WePAC Executive Director Heather Farber. “Research shows that students from schools with open libraries do better in school and on standardized tests than students from schools without libraries,” she declared. “We must teach our children to learn to read before they must read to learn! That’s why WePAC has dedicated itself to re-opening and operating school libraries and bringing academic mentoring into our schools,” said Farber.
Established during the 2003-2004 school year as an outgrowth of a suburban/urban outreach project between Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church and many civic groups, the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children today is a wholly independent and non-sectarian 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.
After the School District of Philadelphia began closing school libraries in a drastic attempt to address the widening budget gap, the current face of WePAC was born, stepping in with library and literacy programming. Since 2009, WePAC has re-opened and operated volunteer-run libraries in Philadelphia public schools. In the 2016-2017 academic year, WePAC will run libraries in 14 schools as well as a one-on-one literacy mentoring program, Library Buddies, in several schools.